Discussion of 2D RTSes. Still viable?

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Post: #1
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 However as I complete more trivial aspects of the game, I am starting to worry if what I am doing is 10 years out of date.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: #2
I guess I feel that even modern RTS games like Warcraft 3 and the command and conquer series are essentially 2D games. Even though they're now rendered in 3D, it really isn't a big deal and that extra dimension isn't really utilized- you're still looking from top-down. So doing it in 2D is completely viable, imo.

Your game concept looks pretty good to me, I'd probably play it. But my ride's here, gotta run.
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Post: #3
Check out Galactica A.D., its turn based,and when you see how complicated
a space domination game gets, you'll understand why.

Whats wrong with Homeworld's combat? Pick your ships, pick your target, watch the glorious space combat. Sure beats trying to pinpoint a fighter thats two pixels thick with a targeting reticule and overheating guns like some games do.
I always wish I could watch my Galactica battles in 3D instant replay, or at maybe rewind my Homeworld conflicts, to watch at multiple angles.

I think the whole economy and resource management thing detracts from game play. Look at the Myth series from Bungie, no resources, just days and nights of pure fun and strategy.

Minimize the amount of micro-management of star systems and maximize the impact of sending fleets into the fire.

In short, what makes the game fun is more important than what makes the game complicated and attractive to accountants.
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Post: #4
Ever played Galactic Civilizations: Dread Wars? Sounds pretty close to what your describing; still, I would continue to make the game and see how it progresses. It sounds like it could be fun to play if it was unique, since most space domination games are hideously slow and boring.
-wyrmmage

Worlds at War (Current Project) - http://www.awkward-games.com/forum/
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Luminary
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Post: #5
Sounds pretty similar to games like Spaceward, Ho!... I don't see what's so different that you're going to stand out.
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Post: #6
RTS generally stands for Real Time Strategy.

"Galactica A.D. is a turn-based strategy game". (source: http://www.insidemacgames.com/reviews/view.php?ID=697)

"Galactic Civilizations is a turn-based strategy computer game" (source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galactic_Civilizations)

Those two games are generally considered turn based strategy, or perhaps an "empire building game".

And example of a RTS game is Starcraft. I think there are some fundamental gameplay differences... and certainly turn based strategy games are not for everyone.. nor are RTS, and Ithink they can be a pretty different market.
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Post: #7
I think what he's describing is a RTS version of an empire building game. Real-time choices on what to build on each planet, but limited to only a few structures like in an RTS not the many structures in one of those other games. If that's the case, it could be potentially interesting.
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Post: #8
Graphically any game is viable as long as it's fun. That's a common problem with modern games, chock full of eye candy but the game plays like a volkswagon on the freeway. Your game sounds like an interesting concept so I'd say go for it.

Hope that helps, and good luck Grin

-CarbonX
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