Sunday, June 28, 2009

What I hate about RTS games

I like Real Time Strategy games. You know, the kind of games in which the player has to build an empire, manage resources and order units into battle. Some games I have played in this genre include Age Of Empires, the Anno series, Warzone 2100 and Transport Tycoon (OpenTTD). All of which are great games in my opinion. But there's something I really hate about all of those games.

In the beginning, everything is nice and easy. But after playing for some time, things are going downward. Shortage of resources, army units going in the wrong direction; chaos. As the amount of clicks per minute increases, I get more agitated and frustrated.
Am I the only player that totally forgets about resource management when I start attacking? The only player that forgets to research that very important new technology because I got my head al up in defending my main base? Or, referring to Transport Tycoon, the only player who can't manage 200 busses/trucks, 100 trains and 150 planes? Is that just me being a really bad strategist?

No, it isn't!
In real life, I would have an army commander, a city architect, a financial advisor and the like at my disposal. But no such luck in most RTS games. In a matter of seconds, I have to switch from building a 1x1 square of cobblestone road to directing an army of thousands into battle, and back. In the meantime, I have to monitor my resources and respond to all kinds of in-game messages.

It's all just too much! It means getting the ultimate fun out of an RTS game is only possible for folks who get a kick out of extreme multitasking and micromanagement. And that's just not me. Bringing in another player to assist me won't help either: most RTS games have no option for full cooperative play with resource sharing, which dramatically cuts the possibility of players sharing the workload (OpenTTD being the exception) .


Time for a solution. RTS games need new ways of task distribution and delegation. Where's the eagle eye view? A tycoon leading a business empire worth billions, or a general leading an army of thousands, should at least have an option to delegate the building of 1x1 road squares and similar tasks.
It would be a delight to see some RTS games that do better. Any recommendations?

Friday, June 26, 2009

I'm back!

Welcome to my new blog! The simple nature of a blog makes it a good way for me to spread some thoughts into the world, without investing too much time. Although most posts are related to IT and digital media, this is not a technical blog for IT people only. I'll really try my very best to keep most posts conceptual, rather than technical.

I would be very happy if this blog could:
  • Interest and inspire people
  • Get me some feedback on some of my ideas and thoughts
While not really 'personal' in the way that I tell private stuff that I should really not tell, this is still a personal blog. Which gives me some freedom. I do not force myself to follow every last trend, because I strongly believe that things that are out of the headlines can still be interesting. Freedom is the breeding ground for creativity - And I consider creativity a very, very important skill. No idea killers here!

Since I write about things that are not specific to Belgium (my home country), I would cut off 99% of my potential audience by writing in Dutch. That's why I switched to writing in English. A language which I've not yet mastered, so feel free to correct my grammar/spelling. :)

Any constructive feedback and comments are very welcome. You can also write comments in dutch.