Brandon Casteel's Expert Blogs
The Command and Conquer is built around a number of systems that I absolutely love, from its resource harvesting system to how it handles base building. And it's that I want to talk about right now: base building. In particular, the Construction Yard/MCV.
At its best, research and upgrade allow the player to adapt to the battlefield and increase replayability of a game by presenting different choices and interaction. At its worst, research and upgrades can provide the player with rote-memory tasks.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I revel in the systems design of Relic's RTS titles (specifically, the Dawn of War and Company of Heroes franchises) and talk about why Relic’s games are a breath of fresh air in the real-time strategy space.
RTS design that resonates with players puts the agency of the player first. Such design gives players ample room on which to succeed or fail own their own merits and it will give them multiple arenas in which to succeed.
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