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February 29, 2020
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Brandon Casteel's Blog


“If you’re not making mistakes, you’re not taking risks, and that means you’re not going anywhere. The key is to make mistakes faster than the competition, so you have more chances to learn and win.” – John W Holt Jr.

My personal blog, where I ramble about RTS design + mechanics: My CV is at

HI! My name is Brandon Casteel, though I often go by "wayward" in online spaces. I am a lifelong gamer and student of narrative and mechanical design, interested in breaking into the industry as a professional technical game and/or level designer (specifically, of real-time and turn-based strategy and tactics games), and am in the beginning stages of the process of proving my chops to potential employers.

I am 33 years old and have worked as a graphic designer, web designer, and a server farm administrator, but have loved strategy games since I first played WarCraft: Orcs and Humans as a kid. I have always wanted to make games, but for much of my adult life have given up on that dream as impractical; I now find myself in the position to pursue that dream in a real way and am running towards it full steam ahead. 

I wrote for before that site closed, and am now the proprietor of where I write about the design of RTS games, as well as more 'fluffy' pieces such as news and game overviews. I've also written for PCGamer and

I consider myself one of the most passionate people on the topic of RTS gaming on the planet, and try to have a holistic view of the design of strategy games, from art to lore to mechanics and game systems. Strategy games are beautiful, organized systems, playgrounds for exercising the mind. It’s a shame that so many people pass them by. I am here to advocate for and strive for the evolution of the endlessly interesting competitive strategy game genre. I am also here to challenge my ideas on games design by presenting them to professionals, and evolving my understanding of RTS and games design based upon the feedback I receive.

I have consulted on a number of game projects, as well as with PhD candidates regarding game design, and am working on several mods for StarCraft 2, Grey Goo and Company of Heroes 2. I will post links below as they enter playable states.


Member Blogs

Posted by Brandon Casteel on Tue, 17 Dec 2019 01:42:00 EST in Design
Resourcing is one of the core pillars of the strategy genre. If we're talking about this fundamental piece of the RTS puzzle, it makes sense to try to do it right and to make it an enjoyable and interesting part of the game.

Posted by Brandon Casteel on Mon, 18 Feb 2019 02:03:00 EST in Design
In this article, I'm going to seek to elucidate a theory of how players' actions operate in the context of strategy games - mostly, in a competitive setting, though I think it also applies to single player or co-op as well.

Posted by Brandon Casteel on Sun, 01 Apr 2018 01:22:00 EDT in
RTS combat is more interesting if players can be efficient along multiple vectors. If pure DPS is king, games are always going to come to who can churn out the most DPS the fastest/most consistently. Let's talk about how to subvert that.

Posted by Brandon Casteel on Wed, 09 Aug 2017 10:17:00 EDT in Design
In the following article, I'm going to talk about the purpose of the creep camp, how various games have implemented them, and what makes a good creep system.

Posted by Brandon Casteel on Tue, 13 Jun 2017 11:38:00 EDT in Design
In the past month, we've seen 2 RTS launch that include phases in their gameplay. While the concept of phases is not new to gaming, it's not something seen in many strategy games. I take a look at the pros and cons of phase + escalation systems in RTS.

Posted by Brandon Casteel on Mon, 06 Mar 2017 11:26:00 EST in Design
the “traditional” model of RTS design contains some inherent or baked-in features which provide players with incredible autonomy, but ultimately drives a very steep slippery slope or “snowball” curve that can erode the quality of gameplay.

Brandon Casteel's Comments

Comment In: [Blog - 02/18/2019 - 02:03]

There 's definitely a subset ...

There 's definitely a subset of RTS games that feel this way, but games like StarCraft and Company of Heroes and Dawn of War give you a lot more control over the outcome of the combat aspects of the game. Even Age of Empires and Supreme Commander give you more ...

Comment In: [Blog - 03/06/2017 - 11:26]

I 've had similar ideas, ...

I 've had similar ideas, and I like some things about it. I don 't think it 's, fundamentally and by itself, a solution though. Here 's why: starting in the middle is an improvement, but still once things start to tip some buildings destroyed etc then you 're right ...

Comment In: [News - 09/13/2016 - 09:26]

This is crazy to me. ...

This is crazy to me. I remember very vividly his illustrations in the Warcraft 2 manual. He and Samwise Didier are, basically, what got me interested in gaming in the first place. Their artwork sparked my imagination, got me interested in producing artwork of my own, and that 's led ...

Comment In: [Blog - 01/04/2016 - 01:31]

I am replaying the C ...

I am replaying the C C series right now and... maybe this is true in the first generation of games, but in RA/C C2/Dune 2000 etc, units die QUICK. C C definitely includes skill based elements, and as Brad says in his article tends to provide a wealth of options ...

Comment In: [News - 10/07/2015 - 05:57]

This is sad to me. ...

This is sad to me. I 've been a fan of Petroglyph since Empire at War and have played most of their games, including many that were unreleased like Mytheon and End of Nations. I think their games are vastly underrated including Grey Goo. I wish Petroglyph, and the employees ...

Comment In: [Blog - 10/02/2015 - 01:08]

I talk about what I ...

I talk about what I consider to be some tangible benefits of the design of RTS games in this post , which is a follow up to the article above. r n r nRTS forcing players to manage multiple factors at a time is a concentration-training methodology. Also, I ...