Welcome to our new series where we will be taking a look at various RTS game-play mechanics and examining what makes certain things work. We will also be discussing various other aspects of the RTS genre, so keep checking back for new topics! Now for some ground rules :
- Stay on Topic
- Keep things as general as possible - this is not a bashing thread! We are now adding in an End of Nations spin!
- This is to encourage thought - therefore well thought out ideas are encouraged!
- Healthy Debate is also encouraged, but flaming/spamming will be dealt with swiftly.
Art of War - Part 35 Map Dynamics
This time on Art of War I'm breaking things down a bit and going to start a topic about map dynamics and how they affect the RTS game and genre. Everything from map choke point to maps creating elevation or straight map bonuses will be explored.
First I'm all about the fair map. That means I want to beat my opponent fairly without having any inclination of an inherent map advantage. That means that each us of have the same chance as winning and it's not dependent on a map giving one of us an advantage. I really enjoy a good RMS (Random Map Script) so that A)The map is random each time and cannot be memorized and B)It's fair for both players 95% of the time. This creates that randomness and fairness that I strive for however it does present other problems. With a RMS you can be given maps where a choke point works particularly well in your favor or you could be given a map where certain resources or points are the same distance away from each player - yet there is a mountain or another barrier in the way. So, that's why many RTS games have focused much more on the pre-made map where all players play the same exact map over and over again. While this leads to more repetitive steps and this does help the fair factor a lot.
Speaking of choke points and other map dynamics, I’m not typically a fan of these when they give players bonuses but are only applicable to one player or play-style. I’d prefer to give players options. For example, I could be on a map with impassable terrain and use it to my advantage by funneling my enemy to the choke point; rather than have a map that chooses the choke point for me, I get to pick the place myself. And then there are examples of RTS games that give players bonuses for elevation or controlling certain icons or units on a map. These things, in my mind, take away from the pure RTS aspect of the game. Elevation is tricky as it does provide some realism, however in terms of game balance I’m not a fan. Capturing a random object on the map isn’t really my style either; are you fighting each other or are you fighting over a point? I guess it doesn’t affect many people, but that’s my typical point of view. If you are going to include points or strategic objectives the game should focus on them so they don’t feel like a halfway incorporated idea.
This week I'm eager to hear back from you about Map Dynamics :
1. Do you like playing the same map over and over or would you prefer a RMS?
2. What do you think about having maps laid out where you don't get to choose your tactics?
3. Within End of Nations - have you seen any maps or heard of any maps that you think sound fun?
4. What are your thoughts on having in-map elements that give you some sort of bonus?