Other recent RTSs. What did they do right and wrong?

By on October 14, 2015 11:43:03 AM from Ashes of the Singularity Forums Ashes of the Singularity Forums

Frogboy

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There haven't been a lot of RTS's released in recent years. But there have been some.

In this thread, let's talk about what you think they did right and what they did wrong and what Ashes can learn from them.

 Examples:

Game #1: Planetary Annihilation

Game #2: Grey Goo

Game #3: Acts of Aggression

Please discuss below.

Thanks!

 

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October 14, 2015 1:03:45 PM from Ashes of the Singularity Forums Ashes of the Singularity Forums

Planetary Annihilation:

 

Right:

A lot of things

the units were fun

the explosions looked  awesome.

The number of units were awesome.

The base defenses were cool  t1,t2,t3)

 

Wrong:

Undefendable artillery, once those were built you had to go kill it and while you are at it why nor kill the base.

Ran like shit even on my nice rig.

Only one faction. 

The orbital thing made games longer but I don't think I was having fun during those times it just took forever.

 

Act of aggression:

 

Right:

Fun gameplay,

great explosion graphics

three seperate factions,

tried something new with resource mechanics 

 

Wrong:

Ignored the outcry for map editors while having a limited amount of maps.

Limited amount of maps.

Ignored request to have options for the resources which gave tutlers no way of making long games happen on small maps. 

Games played out the same way each time. 

Bombers and planes were a bad mechanic

 

 

Grey Goo:

 

I have no idea but I just never really had a good time with this game. There was something about each faction I hated rather than something I liked. Honestly I don't know why I didn't like that game but I didn't have much fun. 

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October 14, 2015 5:11:58 PM from Ashes of the Singularity Forums Ashes of the Singularity Forums

Quoting ,

There haven't been a lot of RTS's released in recent years. But there have been some.

In this thread, let's talk about what you think they did right and what they did wrong and what Ashes can learn from them.

 Examples:

Game #1: Planetary Annihilation

Game #2: Grey Goo

Game #3: Acts of Aggression

Please discuss below.

Thanks!

 

Résultat de recherche d'images pour "crack fingers"

you asked the right guy. 

I've followed all two of these projects since their baby steps. Planetary Annihilation in particular. I backed it on Kickstarter at the 20$ tier which at the time took my account to zero. It was a big deal for me to make that choice.

after that I started having more money and I invested even further upgrading my backing to full alpha access.

I've been really active on PA's forum. becoming their 3rd most active forum member (devs and moderators included): 

As for Grey Goo and Act of Aggression, I followed Grey Goo intently. I played the alpha and stopped after that. I have not played Act of Aggression even though I was aware of it and have been keeping a close eye on it since it's announcement so I will abstain from commentary. 

 

Game #1: Planetary Annihilation

    1. DID RIGHT : 

Alot of things. It's difficult to find where to begin but the way I'd formulate it is : they KNEW their public. they knew their public like one would his own kid.
The kickstarter video is evidence enough of that. Analyzing it. I find it's subtly catering to SupCom fans, Supcom 2 Fans, Total annihilation fans, Starcraft fans looking for a new kick. It's pretty genius actually.
 
And you don't make all that stuff up. If you don't say it from the heart it shows. Their ex-community manager wouldn't ever have spent his off-time playing PA and it showed... alot. He was a real lovable chap and everyone in the community liked and even still misses him but in the end it seems that's not what matters. 
 
Anyways, specifics!
 
They got the community interaction right. 
 
That I get to say today that I swung PA towards full strategic zoom with the good help and initiative of Culverin is something of a great pride for me. (/side : not trying to sound menacing there  ). not only that but I instigated the renovation of their forum software. I spotlighted some very underrated mods up from the mess of cobwebs they were disappearing under into such center stage that the devs took them and implemented them as stock. I helped list and report countless bugs. and got the satisfaction of helping countless people with technical issues.
 
So A : their community interaction was based on alot of listening. (more than any other dev studio I've ever seen do for that matter something crazy for a near triple-A studio)
 
B : their community interaction involved knowing their public and relating to them alot as well as knowing the things to say that would get everyone hyped.
 
C : lots and lots and lots of interaction : Dev Livestreams, constant forum presence, meddling with the community-organised tourneys and organizing their own, charity, giveaways, hiring active community members as modderators and/or inviting them into their offices/ letting them take a grand role in their event booths, videos of the devs within the game giving you a rundown, you name it.
 
As for the gameplay in particular what they got right is the engine.
 
it's strange to say that but... the engine almost resonates with life. it's crazy. no matter how much you push and shove it. It continues to impress. I'm not staying it's the most stable ever. Now it's really really stable but even back in Gamma it was still very crashy. No, what I'm trying to say is that when you break out of the defined limits for "normal" gameplay : say you Mod in "levels" of terrain something that no other RTS has ever done before (and lets be honest hurling the terrain and units around the sun in an orbit and not even feeling anything wrong when you zoom in and play had never been done before and is a feat in and of itself) and there's not gonna be any garantee that what you just modded is playable at all. It's astonishing to discover that what you just did RUNS. that it WORKS and what's best ; it works the way you hoped it would. 
During their first stop at Pax prime. while setting up the booth Uber discovered a game-killing bug and fixed it and recompiled the game on the spot. right as they are starting their first demo : a match pitching mixed teams of developers and community members.
 
the tourist players took a small moon and attempted to send it crashing into the planet the devs occupied but they killed the planet-propelling rocket with a nuke and the planet adopted a new orbit around a nearby planet. they then reconstructed the rocket propeller and started again but the devs finished their catalysts on their metal planet in time to activate it's doomsday weapon : basically the Death Star's laser; just in time to evaporate the moon as it was hurling down. (this is technically impressive because it had never been tested before and noone not even the devs knew if the engine would be able to resolve the "deathlaser"vs "Kenetic Energy Weapon" scenario, if it would crash, if there would be glitches and or bugs. They hadn't even considered this eventuality (it was very small odds). but no. everything went fine and panned out just the way one would imagine this scenario in it's best light.)
 
they provided a decently powerfull UI.
 
The AI. God the ai's just bluffing in that you can't really tell it apart form a human. a nooby human perhaps but : it doesn't cheat. Not one bit. It doesn't see the map any more that you do. heck it plays the game basically with the same interface you do only that it is able to have an APM way in excedent of what a human can manage. 
 
Some game-design choices are spot-on. The tech unlocks are ON THE FIELD. you just build a factory that itself builds an engineer which can build more. one of the things that engineer can build is the higher tier factory. the engy has a type, meaning  you must "research" several "trees" that way (air, bot, land, navy, orbital).
 
and they provided great amounts of scalability on the engine. The game plays pretty much on any computer; is a quick download (3GB and for the longest time it was under 1GB) and is also very VERY easily capable of bringing your computer to it's knees. 
 
So in the end you could say they were spot on for presence, advertising, game design philosophies, game mechanics ideas and the public's good grace (if you take into account the bad press Uber has had in the past and even sometimes today, it's wowing that their good sides redeem them in the public eye). 

    2. DID WRONG :

Some banners the devs took up towards the end. "Singleplayer is best and more numerous. we make this game for singleplayers not for multiplayers" and the actions this stance justified (such as refusing the community Global chat despite that the community was pleading for it en-masse and in crushing majority).

Bad balancing. One faction and yet the balance is still off to this day. There are units that are note-worthily more worth you investing in than others. it always switches around which unit this is according to the latest balance tweak but mostly I pin the difficulties with balancing on several things :

A : arguably going for a faster-paced gameplay than Starcraft through handicapped UI and one-shot kills all across the board. 

B : Everything has nearly as much DPS as HP if not more. 

C : And I did say one-shot kills not one-hit kills. Simulated projectiles is notably unused in this game. Even with a firering ark for mobile artillery units that leaps over orbital units the shots still hit.

D : the devs have trouble realizing how good some deals they create can be. You say you have to build five T2 40000-metal costing huge structures called catalysts on metal planets to have control over the death ray with no cool-down or rebuilt necessary... well that's something better players can rush. Very easily. and end a setup that looked like a 2-hour long match in 8 minutes and they GET the death weapon AT the 8 minute mark. Consistently. it means the game-ender is no fun to watch because it signals the end of the game; it isn't part of it. 

Same for asteroids that now destroy the entire planet no matter the size. and that costs the same price only you only have to build ONE of them. 

Same for the Gaz Giants which provide you with near-endless space in which to build as many mass extractors as you wish unconstrained to spots. and those extractors don't produce less metal than the t1 and t2 they produce more (5 times as much and 1.8 times as much) and they produce energy.

SAME for mass points period. They pay for themselves faster than TA's and SupCom's. WAY faster. and they don't just slightly increase output per tier THEY TRIPLE. Add that to the fact mass points are in overabundance on a default planet there is nearly NO POINT fighting over terrain. 

This has forced both the Devs (for their ladder and default skirmish maps) and the community (in their custom-made maps for skirmishes) to abstain from using any of those three types of planets. SEVERELY limiting the variety of gameplay.

Via both the incredibly low survivability of your army AND the incredible efficiency of static defenses (only against large slow land armies not commander sniping payloads which is the opposite of what is good for gameplay value) you are encouraged to bunker in until the exps and game enders you're ecoing for do their thing.

there are techs but they are too close together. you can unlock t2 near instantly. tech 1.5 is available right from the start. the higher tech definitely feels mushy compares to what it could be (again the one-shot phenomena is at work here) a t2 only overwhelms 2-4 t1 units but beyond that it's the opposite. t2 Ranges aren't anything to write home about and in the end there are only two techs.


GALACTIC WAR : their sad pathetic excuse for singleplayer and campaign. <- I'm sorry If you find this disgraceful but there's really no other way to put it. this was and is a sad sad shame for all those of us who love and cherish PA. there's nothing to salvage from it. Even the AI doesn't work with it. it's... I just rather not talk about it. I've expressed what I have to say about it here : http://forums.ashesofthesingularity.com/471850 and it makes it all worse that their stance is "we want to support singleplayers not multiplayers" is utterly in diametric opposition with their situation. 

It seems just logic and reason to me to align your stance with the cards you have in hand.


Economy is just plain out the wazoo. it's pointless to hope to have something decent looking going on in your economy bars. better get used to it flickering up and down. That's the energy bar i'm talking about. Mass is just something you'll be wasting the entire length of the game on a massive scale. the mass bar is pretty pointless in this game come to think of it.

Bad UI (some of it plain unjustifiable. the devs said "because we're not making SupCom3"):

no visible build queue. uneditable build previews. all the menus going from the main menu in the game waste screen real estate and end up not being able to adequately present the setups which can easily happen (requires lots TONS of the scroll bar use).

no dual screen (or more. as was promised). no Sli/Crossfire support. Linux port is largely underwhelming. (then again there was always and still is only a single dev tasked with doing the linux port).

Giving credit where it's due for mods they took into the base game. Actually moral and technical support for modders period. nowhere inside PA anywhere is there any mention that PA is moddable or has mods. PA does not have a mod hub on steam. PA may possess an intentionally easy to-mod architecture (for a very specific safe zone. requests for API calls and hooks from modders have been ignored for three years now) but the modding community feeds itself. the mod platform was made by the modders, the mod forum can not be linked to without being redacted. it is claimed in some articles about PA that "Mod tools are built right into Planetary Annihilation as first-class citizens. You don't have to install any weird programs on your computer or visit sketchy websites; it's all available within the game." The epitome of lies and not very classy according to the public.

 

The pathfinding. The pathfiding is godawful in this game. they are using flowfield. but I've lost any conviction that flowfield is meant for anything other than providing CPU overhead. it really doesn't make units path better. side by side comparison with FA : PA pales in pathfinding.

Lack or realism and immersion :

A lot of it has to do with not trying to push the scale further than what FA did as people expected and instead toning it down. I started what is now the biggest thread on their forum the "scale megathread" google is your friend, and obtained nothing on that front despite total support and continued pressure from the community and even a mod/tool by cola colin which did 90% of the work that would be involved to accomplish this.

Intel :  they messed intel up real hard. On a spherical map you get less information by default then on a flat one because at the horizons the information is hard to read and beyond that it's hidden. you see somewhere around a third of the planet's surface with one camera angle. and that's not it. there are several planets. and you only view icons on one of them at a time. So with no minimap for all this (excluding Cola_colin's recent excellent mod, how did they deduce this situation was ripe for scaling down the intel you get from it's spiritual predecessors ?? 

No pinned icons for scouted structures. no type on radar blips. ridiculously small radar ranges. They upright deleted orbital radar and made all orbitals be visible by default. They created an orbital radar with a whole planet's worth of vision. Vision. 

The intel in this game does not exist. It's just an aside.

the "feel" of the game is off both in terms of what you see (units poping if you so much as sneeze at them. and this includes the commander, supposed to be a lumbering terrifying giant who in the end has no prestance whatsoever, units as big as mountains mountains as high as the horizon.... basically you're playing on King Kai's planet and it's supposed to feel "epic") and in terms of the gameplay (the strategy is nowhere even near PA. PA is a strictly tactical game. you apply a BO. just like Starcraft. no thinking involved.).

So in the end you could say just balance.


Game #2: Grey Go

    1. DID RIGHT :

Very appealing lore and ads. boasted novelty. did I mention stunning ads?

    2. DID WRONG :
This :
is a new game?
 
Do we look like buffoons? the minimap's on the right, the actions are in the middle, the unit preview is on the left.
 
THAT supposed to flip our world upside down? it's starcraft.
 
Admittedly it was pretty much advertised as a starcraft for people who got old and slow and wanted to have something more chill. (which I personally think was fantastic there is most definitely a market for that and I'm one of it's buyers)
it's got too little of the slowing down and too little of the mimickery on starcraft (gameplay wise) and it just isn't that much of a special cupcake to deserve a bite out of starcraft's playerbase.
 
the exp units CRUSH. they Crush way too much. It's pointless to have a big army or even a base rather than 1, 2 or even 3 experimentals. (I think something like that is the max).
 
this game's replayability is ENTIRELY explored in one game as the optimal build is unique the balance is quite bad (especially humans vs Goo) and honestly it brings nothing new to the table if you've ever played starcraft before.
 
the only new real interesting thing is the walls and the basebuilding but they are both way too under-powered to matter when you're playing.
 
 

Game #42: Etherium (participated in both the alpha and beta. Some of my closest friends and also my clan were hyped for it.)

    1. DID RIGHT :

A lot of the concepts. the imagery. the hyping. The balance.

    2. DID WRONG :
Again too much Starcraft sparkle in the eyes of this game's developers. Even if this time the gameplay presents itself on paper as something definitely different from starcraft (and mind you, they pretty much did VP before VP were cool), in reality it comes down to a lot more of the same, bad UI. lots of micro. zone control and lots of tentative indecision when it comes to sending in your blob. it's passé with a different shade of brown and it should have done something other than try to stab right into Starcraft's playerbase with the means it actually had.
 
 
I really never understood these choices. wanting to tackle the big leagues first. Sure Starcraft is loosing some steam. But it's loosing it to Mobas, FPSes and phone games (yes hearthstone is a phone game. running it on your PC doesn't change that fact). So thinking it was loosing steam to (or potentially to) other RTSes is stupid. WHAT other rtses. These people that were fleeing Starcraft had been trained not to expect any RTSes by the RTS DROUGHT (and I'm excluding all TBSes) that occurred during the FPS-Boom.
 
 Anyways not something you guys have to worry about since you worked your way up to the big leagues the patient and correct way. Still though I'd appreciate the daring move that would be admitting SupCom did a lot of things right and it's what many people want in new games and compare new games to. 
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October 14, 2015 7:45:10 PM from Ashes of the Singularity Forums Ashes of the Singularity Forums

Great post, Tat.  Very good read.

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October 14, 2015 9:19:41 PM from Galactic Civilizations III Forums Galactic Civilizations III Forums

Dawn of war had sync kills. It made the battles cinematic. Seeing units get killed with the same animations is boring.

 

Also, original cool factions are a plus. Space furries, space Egyptians, space america is so damn boring. Oh and also, don't let it be a battle of who can click the most per minute. Grand strategy should be far more important than micro and dancing.

 

Half the fun is letting a players imagination take over. My fondest memory was when me and my brother, as space marine and eldar, were getting ready to wipe out the last ork Ai. To our surprise we found him massing a huge number of weak ground units, slugga boys, and our small band of space marines and eldar fought back a huge tide of orks. Sync kills and dead bodies were everywhere! I even had to orbital bombard the swarm. Amazing experience. It went downhill in the expansion when they started catering to MLG so much so that they removed sync kills. The heart of dawn of wars gritty feel. Absolutely disgusting and disappointing end for that game that still died out. Except now it has no replay value for the core fans like me that they sacrificed for the MLG extremists, who moved on ANYWAYS.

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October 15, 2015 11:52:41 PM from Ashes of the Singularity Forums Ashes of the Singularity Forums

Planetary annihilation: 

 

Good

This game had a lot of original ideas an managed to pull them off successfully. Things that you expect to have an big impact did have a big impact and were visually very pleasing. Although the playing field itself was hard to follow the layout and UI made it easy to track what was going on in multiple field.  The biggest pro from this game that I would also recommend for AoTS is they way they managed to keep the battlefield instantly recognizable. The use of symbols, how these were stacked together, their size and the use of colors made it immediately recognizable if you were going to be swarmed by tanks/bots or if there was going to be a more insidious artillery assault. This system was for from perfect though, it could still be difficult in sprawling bases to see if and where some building like nukes and anti nukes were positioned. A stronger visual cue for these types of game altering structures would be helpfull.


Bad

The scale of the units vis a vis the planet: battle ships the size of an ocean look silly. All these units were suposed to look like massive behemoths but the impression I always had was of a fight by regular sized robots on a series of miniature planets. Some for of realistic scaling and reference points to trees or other visual cues on the size of thing help with communicating scale. 


Scouting/information: Scouting in this game was easy and ubiquitous until you forgot. You could lose games due to lack of radar/scouts, miss an invading army at your back and lose your base, but it was always your own fault. There was no way to outplay an opponent based on information scarcity: you had to rely on them being lazy. Getting scouting right in a game is one of the more difficult steps i would think: you need to be able to get enough information early on to not make the early game and opening plays a blind game of rock paper scissors. However, mid and late game getting information on your opponent should come at an significant cost of either resources or attention. If you can easily at all times know where all the enemy units that can threaten you are the game becomes dull. 


The most important downside for me would be the replay-ability: the very limited amount of  (viable) units and strategies means that there is not a lot of room to experiment with crazy new ideas. As such it is difficult to motivate yourself to play another game if you feel forced into playing in the exact same way in the next match. The availability of sub-optimal units and plays that can be successfully pulled of by outplaying your opponent greatly increase my enjoyment of a game. If there's an ambush tank in the game that cant win 1v1 vs the main units in the game and isn't seen in most games than that is a motivation for me to try out different play styles/ openings to get it to work. This often also relies on my opponents imperfect knowledge of my army. Long story short: add a large variety of units/building with their own niche, even if there's a clear superior tank for 70% of the situations people will try to force the game into the other 30% with their wonky units. 


Grey Goo

Good

Incredibly diverse and asymmetric factions. This added to the replay-ability of the game because playing a different faction was like playing a different game.  The singleplayer was beautifull and the story verry interesting. 


Bad

Although the factions were very different the number of different strategies that could be used was not.  After 20 games of optimizing your playstyle with a faction I felt that all my strategies were reduced to:

Opponent builds A?  Build B

Opponent build B? Build C

Opponent builds C? Build A


These Rock Paper Scissor kind of strategies greatly reduce the replayabillity, especially when combined only a few unit types. In chess there are thousand of viable response to all the many possible openings and this is why the game is still played today. An opponent with thousands of more games under their belt can still be surprised by an unconventional play. Lack of modding options further hurts the game in the long run. 


Summary: I'd humbly implore you to always keep replay-ability in mind with this game. My suggestions would be through a large number of semi-viable(( they dont have to be perfectly balanced)) units/structures with an unique niche, a lack of direct RPS hard counters and enough information scarcity to be tricked by your opponents.   


Very last point: I know that you plan to support this game for a very long time with multiple expansions and DLC and as you can see I bought them all already because, regardless of the route you guys take, I want to support you in making this game. That having been said, allow us also to help with the game by supporting the modders as best you can.  




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October 16, 2015 4:28:07 AM from Ashes of the Singularity Forums Ashes of the Singularity Forums

Planetary annihilation:

Ive played the game a lot (+300 hours) since Alpha til today. I think Uber have made a fantastic game (with their resources). I think it is important to remember that it is not an AAA-title, but a small game developing company. 

Good things:

Fantastic idea behind the game, fighting on multiple planets with a lot of units with the possibility to zoom in on one unit and out to the entire sun system. Very fun p2p. A lot of fantastic sceneries forexample when you were bussy in a fight on one planet, and suddenly you see a lot of explosions far far away in the background, on another planet. And then you realize it probably is your main base on that other planet that is under attack!

The bad: 

The "many planets" and "3d" maps (planets) seemed very interesting as an idea but they didnt manage to get it to work too well game play wise. It was to hectic to play on more then two planets (for one player). Also the orbital thing was fantastic in so many ways, but they didnt quite make it work 100% game play wise. The game handling came in the way for the game play. 

On the other side, playing in one planet was a litle dull. The planets were too flat and had no strategic points. I realized my dream through the game developing was to get Supreme commander gameplay, in the Planetary annihilation setting. Maybe a hopeless dream though. 

 

I am very optimistic with Ashes of the Singularity. Keep up the good work and get the game play right!  

Snierke

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October 17, 2015 3:31:14 AM from Ashes of the Singularity Forums Ashes of the Singularity Forums

Quoting tatsujb,


 Game #1: Planetary Annihilation

    1. DID RIGHT : 

Alot of things. It's difficult to find where to begin but the way I'd formulate it is : they KNEW their public. they knew their public like one would his own kid.

 

The kickstarter video is evidence enough of that. Analyzing it. I find it's subtly catering to SupCom fans, Supcom 2 Fans, Total annihilation fans, Starcraft fans looking for a new kick. It's pretty genius actually.
 
 
They certainly knew how to get attention. The second kikstarter video was awesome too but the project start failing from the begining very probably because there was already a lot of mistrust toward them in the public. As a matter of fact  the game orientation went from multiplayer at the begining to single player at the end with a very unfriendly to single player crowd 1.0 release in the meantime. True there was a lot of charming buzz (and also some less charming Bradlocks) but I'm afraid at some point they have lost there public.
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October 18, 2015 4:30:48 AM from Ashes of the Singularity Forums Ashes of the Singularity Forums

PA: Bought this game in unplayable alpha, don't regret it.

Good:

Awesome originality and new ideas in an RTS, with the concept of planets and using planets as weapons. Titans + other new units added a little more.

Bad:

Not much difference in functionality of different(Bots/vehicle) units and only one faction. No research. No unit customization. No unit ranking.

 

Grey Goo:

Good:

Only played a couple of missions, maybe 6 or 7. Interesting base building mechanics. 3 very different factions. A tiny bit of base and unit customization. 

Bad: 

Very few unit choices, very RPS, maps too small, zoom too close. Very little research. I think the units didn't rank up as well. All in all, meh...didn't even bother with skirmish. Definitely no RA1 or 2 lol.

 

Act of Aggression: I really like Eugen systems, so even though my (Wargame like) expectations were a little let down, I don't regret buying the game.

Good:

A lot of different units and structures, good economic structure(not perfect). 3 different factions. A lot of research and upgrades. Range and Vision matters.Less RPS. Combined forces and maneuvering extremely important. Maps are the biggest for this type of RTS. Base building is fun and can become STRONG. This is by far the best RTS of this kind, since C&C Generals/Zero hour.

Bad: ZOOM TOO LOW. Range and vision is difficult to apply and maintain. It can be hard to maneuver your forces, due to spacial cramping.(It seems that all of these types of RTS's have this problem.) You have to blob(you need a lot of units and maneuvering isn't always possible or practical). Maps are still too small. No customization. No Ranking/vetrancy.

2 games that I think are extremely relevant to AOTS are: World in Conflict(Wic) and Wargame. Both of these games use a world/environment similar to the size and scale of AOTS (especially Wargame). Wic has global abilities called tactical aids, that you might want to check out, if your not already familiar with them. And both games were exemplary in: Vision, Intel, Concealment, Unit placement, Line of sight vs Line of fire, Maneuver warfare, Ambushing, Capability and diversity of units, and Awesome, full map zoom.

I will always go for bigger maps and higher zoom over flashy and detailed graphics. 

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October 18, 2015 10:38:56 AM from Ashes of the Singularity Forums Ashes of the Singularity Forums

Game 1: Planetary Annihilation (  )

The good-strategy as opposed to micro intensive clicking..

The scale is just gloriously large, and the battles are among intense  If you played total annihilation and.or supreme commander.


The Bad -The lack of variety a bad call in a series of bad calls.

With only a single faction, with nothing resembling a tech tree or upgrades, with maps having only a single shape (a sphere inside a sphere) that negates terrain.

Planetary Annihilation misses many of the elements that make a RTS a good RTS. It instead is so in love with its concept, that it never gets around to the vital business of being a good game.

 

Game 2: Grey Goo

The good -It returns to base building RTS glory days. Super polished cutscenes and a difficult campaign that hearken back to when games were tough. Three well balanced factions and great UI allow the player to always be in the middle of the action.

 

The bad-No full Zoom



Game 3: Acts of Aggression

The good -Not bad game but also not good game havent play enouth to have a good critic

The bad -All hopes and promisses  ,in the and result is  sometimes 0 players online .

 

 

 

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October 18, 2015 2:25:13 PM from Ashes of the Singularity Forums Ashes of the Singularity Forums

[Moderator edit]

We saw your other post. This topic is regarding what people liked and didn't like in other RTS's. thx! -mods

 

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October 19, 2015 5:55:22 AM from Ashes of the Singularity Forums Ashes of the Singularity Forums

Oh hey! A post about the Things RTS's Did Right/Wrong!

Without a flame war?  Impossibru!

Regardless, here's what I've seen so far:

 

PA (Time Played: 3k+ hours):

PA was the first RTS I've ever gotten remotely *serious* about.  Well - the first I've played for more than ten hours without giving up because it wasn't fun/interesting to play.

Pros:

Uber (the developers behind PA) got the feel right.  It's a game on a truly awesome scale that stays true to its roots in TA and SupCom.  At the same time, it manages to differentiate itself from those predecessors and make a name for itself in the process.  When it comes to big fights, multiple fronts, and epic scale, PA has everyone beat.  

The UI provides some of the best functionality in RTS games I've ever seen.  You can send a planet-wide patrol order to hundreds of units as easily as microing a single engineer.  Or you could send a truckload of engineers to perform the daunting task of setting up a planetwide defense grid against orbital invasion for maximum efficiency with a single click+drag.    I play other RTS's and try doing simple area commands or patrols and become hugely disappointed that it doesn't work.  I have to micro this?  I've been so spoiled.  

Truly a sandbox RTS - you can mod the game out the wazoo.  Don't like the balance?  Just make a mod for it.  Want your own special map? There's a built in map editor that's super easy to use with lots of tools for the more advanced folks.  The engine will adapt to tons of different scenarios, and it's built to run as many units as your computer (or next decades PCs) can handle.  

The engine is (finally) super stable and extremely well made - if you have the latest graphics drivers

Cons:

The balance is still questionable.  Certain units just don't have use in any stage of the game (T2 Bombers, T1 Patrol Boats, etc), and certain other units start wrecking late game against everything conventional without pause.  Right now, that's the T2 Tank, but a few months ago it was the T2 Sniper Bot.  It's really just an annoyance, but it has plagued the game since Beta.

Orbital gameplay still needs work.  Up until recently, the orbital layer was basically a running joke in the PA community because there was so little to do there besides spam fighters and lag the game to hell at the hour mark. Now, it's ruled by a rock-paper-scissors mentality between three units.  This works quite well, but many players still find the orbital layer to be a bit of a slog to get through after conquering a planet or two.  

 

Be warned: once you've gotten used to playing on a globe, you won't want to go back to flat-mapped RTS games.  It really changes your perspective and how you plan for the enemy's attack.

Ever wanted to see just how much your mind can take at once? Just how long can you handle coordinating attacks and economies across half a solar system before breaking? For me, that's what PA is all about - multiplanet wars between players that lead to epic carnage - some of which includes asteroid smashing and Death Stars.
This relates to AoS in a simple way:  You cannot beat PA at its own game.  Big armies and fights? Too late. PA still holds that candle.  

 

Grey Goo (Time Played: 75 hours):

Pros:

It's basically Starcraft for people who DON'T LIKE STARCRAFT.  That would be me.

Factions are interesting and have real, tangible differences when it comes to base building.

Epic Units spice up gameplay in the end-game.  

Cons:

The faction differences are basically demolished when it comes to unit composition.  HINT: All factions have access to basically the same units with tweaked stats.  You have your tank, then your anti-heavy unit, then anti-light....etc.  There isn't any variety beyond the Goo's lack of air.

The balance absolutely blows.  When the game came out, it was tank and arty spam ftw. Now, its a weird balance that depends on who you play:  Against Goo, you might spam Light units, but against Beta or Human, you might spam tanks. It's very binary with little variety.

The visuals are great, but they went for a weird and oversized UI that blocked a lot of the screen.  I felt closed in while playing :/

The maps and unit cap are just too small.  I always feel like this game would translate well to 4v4 maps, but I've never been able to try it out.

 

All in all, Grey Goo is a fun and casual game that you should only play with people that don't know how to play the balance.  That way you can actually play with *most* of the units.

 

Etherium (Time Played: 10 hours?):

Pros:

Basically a strange flavor of (you guessed it) StarCraft.

Intriguing Region system that lets you visually see how well you are doing on map control.  Also can lead to turtling.

Cons:

Tech is based on map control.  The more you have, the more slots you cna devote to research and the farther ahead you get as you get farther ahead.  There's no reason to tech up once you reach T2 and start rolling over your opponent.  You've won at that point.

Stalemates happened often, even against the AI.  The fight wasn't fluid, and while random weather helped in some respects, the gameplay was still pretty mundane.

Ever wanted to needlessly fight a trench war over that tiny patch of sand outside a forest of dense palm trees? Yes? FOR HOURS? 
Me neither.

 

 

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October 20, 2015 3:17:36 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

I did buy all 3 aforementioned games and while i did not play them enough to be completely fair judge of them, i still think me spending money on them gives me right to voice my opinion, even if some people may disagree with my views... i guess i mostly want to vent my frustration, cause there is a good reason, why i did not play them that much, as all of them pretty much suck, for various reasons. 

anyway, good thread.

Planetary Annihilation: the only good thing about it i guess is the innovative approach and technological advancement... but other than those, i dont like so many things about it...

- single faction

- the unit gameplay, you just produce them en masse and there seems to be very little finesse to using all of them. they are just expendable and you could not care less about them. Together with the cartoony graphics it takes all the immersion away. So i build naval battleship, happy about having a behemoth unit, only to find out it both looks and acts like shit. I lose it pretty quickly, but so what i build zillion of them. 

- you spend hour to play the game and produce massive armies, spread around the whole globe, only to game move to that solar system phase and all that shit wont matter, cause another celestial object on its way for deep impact. Gives you solid feeling of wasted time, if that happens, does it not?

- the gameplay on the spherical map turned out pretty annoying, at least for me. During my limited experience i played only on relatively smallish planets i guess, where i would constantly lose focus of my stuff, cause scrolling down a bit would move it behind horizon. Once again it was nice and innovative idea (sort of, there were other games like Populous doing this before), but for me personally, did not work.

At least i bought this on sale, unlike Grey Goo.

 

Grey Goo: i could see there was obvious effort put into campaign and the aesthetics, those would be the positives. But the gameplay itself, i guess i should be warned when i read about the "oldschool" approach. But then again i used to like CnC games, like Red Alert 3 not so long ago. Anyway, the main negatives:

- the faction design - those have to be the most bland factions i ever witnessed in post 2000 RTS game. Literally nothing interesting to play with, except maybe epic units. Other than that, bunch of walkers or hovercrafts, obligatory anti-air, arty, some airplanes, which felt totally underwhelming... and that was it. Constructing human bases was annoying, rather than fun. Clearly there was some intent to make Goo faction unique, but it was not enough, yeah, you did not build traditional bases, which was interesting twist, but the unit roster was just meh. I think this faction, the way it morphed the mother goo into different unit types, could have been influenced by the Alien faction from the oldish Earth 2160 game - they worked in similar manner, except important part, beside the cloned/morphed land units you had access to massive spaceships, which were incredibly awesome and fun to use! Maybe OP as hell, but thats beside the point, which is:

no navy, no superweapons, no "general" abilities, no commando units, no alternate income sources (AFAIK), no "T3" level units, no sins like complex research tree, useless aircraft, etc., etc...

not saying all those things have to be in every game to be succesful or good, but just seeing that list it makes you feel that the game was truly pretty basic.

- the UI - i guess it was rather OK to use, but why did it have to took half the screen i would not know

- even with the effort put into single-player campaign, gameplay-wise it catered to multiplayer crowd with low unit counts and short match times... for me personally, thats not enough. 

 

Act of Aggression: the best thing about it is the modern-warfare setting. Since for whatever reason all the other recent RTS tend to be sci-fi based (Ashes of Singularity, Grey Goo, Planetary Annihilation...) I like the use of real world stuff as well, the canned CnC was presented to be as modern warfare RTS too, except when it came to units, instead of Apaches you would get stupid scifish custom design VTOL helicopters. Not surprised a bit, it was cancelled But:

- the faction design again - while better than in case of GG, i feel the factions are not diverse enough. Or the game does it best to obscure those differences to players. When i played CnC Generals, the differences between US, China and GLA were very obvious on many levels and in many aspects, you could easily describe those differences in bunch of sentences, just playing few games. I played all the factions in AoA and i have an issue to do something similar here. All the factions have infantry, tanks, artilleries, planes, harvest the same resources...i am aware of some differences between say US arty (being missile based) and Cartel one (being tube artillery). or that one faction tends to need more money, while other aluminium...but somehow thats not enough, since despite these i fail to feel somehow different, if i play US as opposed to playing Chimera.

- lack of navy, which really could have been there and the plane mechanic is shit. I like direct control over my stuff - CnC approach, especially Generals one was so much satisfying to use. The only thing i like i guess is that you can have technically as many bombers as those "airfields", not just single general power one like in Gens. Its truly awesome to watch 15 B2s flying toward enemy base and in a while to send them again...

- the obscurity of visual stuff and the game related info cause of shitty UI - i never thought i would consider more realistic graphics as opposed to cartoony ones to be a downside, but in case of this game, it is. I cant literally see shit at times. Because someone thought it would be awesome to have everything up to scale, everything was zoomed in at first, so you could barely see 1/5 of your base. Then, after the fan uproar, they moved the camera back, so now you can see maybe half of your base at once - except you cant see visually identify your units or see them at all (like infantry). And if i have trouble to distinct different types of units in my unit blob, i start to lose the will to actually use them in some meaningful manner, rather than selecting all of them and send toward enemy. Why would i even want to buy artillery, if during battle i cant even see which one it is, so i wont select and use it separately the way its meant to be used for it to be most useful...the last time i played, i would just build shitload of helicopters for US and played just with those, cause i actually felt in control over what am i doing.

In regard to UI, you have quite a lot of structures, units and upgrades at your disposal, the issue is, actually too much, because the game presents them in totally chaotic way. Instead of having all those upgrades (and there is quite lot of them) displayed in some separate screen and most importantly in ONE place - like Sins research screen, they are accessed separately from several buildings, except you never know which building it was, unless you played the game enough... i still have no idea how to capture POWs for example...

- i found that despite the vast amount of stuff to build and upgrade, i rarely have enough resources to do it all. Even if i have multiple refineries over half of the map, i find myself constantly in need of something if i want this or that. Maybe its meant to press you into choices, to follow the path you think its best, so you cant have it all - but ultimately i ignored the research almost completely altogether and would rather build units for the available money.

 

So that would be all. Maybe i am just growing old, but as i see it the game needs to hit the sweetspot for me between being not too shallow like GG nor overwhelming like AoA. Otherwise i lose interest very fast. Bottom line, Rebellion is 10x superior game to all these 3 combined, cause it has flawless UI, ideal pacing, interesting diverse and fun to play factions, more complex and potentially fun features like trade, culture, diplomacy or proper research, different victory conditions...and while its big scale game and allows you to have fairly big armies (even though not as much as PA, way more than GG) and some frigates and cruisers are sort of expendable, there are actually units, the most fun to use ones, that you care about and attend to them like capships, titans or starbases, cause of the experience mechanic and abilities... 

I am considering buying Ashes of Singularity this year and later Cossacks 3, when it comes out. Please, dont dissapoint me. I really miss a game which would excite me to play the way Rebellion did.

 

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