The slow start in C&C-like RTS

Perhaps a description of “C&C-like RTS” is in place before I begin. What that means is the RTS sub-genre where you start out with one building and possibly a few resource-gatherers to mine resources to build up a base to build up an army to raze the opponent’s base.  This is the very meaning of RTS to some, but “Real Time Strategy” can be so much wider, as teams such as Creative Assembly, Paradox and Massive has proven with their games.

In many of these games – primarily the Blizzard-games and their clones – you start out with a main-building and a few gatherers, and the first thing you do is to send them to mine, to build more gatherers. And repeat for awhile. In others, you’ve got a builder, the main-building and enough cash to build up a resource-gathering building and a gatherer to get the economy rolling. Just as with Character-creation in RPGs, this stuff isn’t the fun part of the game and takes too much time. It has to be shortened, or taken away all-together. The latter would take away an important tactic in the game (ruining the opponent’s economy), so I guess that’s ruled out if we’re to stay in this same sub-genre.

So, how can it be shortened? The easiest way would be to let the miners harvest faster. It would make you get enough money quickly, and then be on your way to the fun stuff. But. It would also take away the importance of an economy after just a few minutes as you’d get enough money to not having the trouble of prioritizing the income, as you’d have more then you would be able to handle. It would, in other words, take away it’s own purpose of being your life-line.

The solution I see would be to either let the player have something entirely different to do – like playing pong or bejeweled or something – while the first resources are gathered (and perhaps get some resources by playing well to keep that relevant), or keep the low rate but with a way higher initial cash to be able to make a base from the start and put some more gatherers out, but still have an income that forces the player to prioritize which units to buy.

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6 Responses to The slow start in C&C-like RTS

  1. tobbas says:

    I think you should check out World in Conflict, a great game witch has solved the problem by giving you a limited supply of resources. In order to gain more resources you have to take over special points.

    The game has no bases, just dropoff points where you drop your troops to send them out in the heat of battle.

  2. johannessmidelov says:

    Yes, World in Conflict is a great game, just as the others Massive has done (although I still think the first Ground Control being the best in a tactical experience, thanks to throwing currency away all-together and limiting possible reinforcements), and that’s why I restricted this opinion to the C&C-clones.

    Just have to correct you on one point (that’s actually a bit off-topic) – WiC has a big area where you drop units off, and not a certain “point”. If you’ll ever come across the Ground Controls, you’ll see why I find that worth correcting.

  3. tobbas says:

    you say tomato I say tomato, doesn’t work that good on the internet though…

  4. johannessmidelov says:

    You say tomato, I say ketchup. My point is that the difference between the two is vast. Play the Ground Controls, and you’ll understand.

  5. tobbas says:

    I was refering to:

    “Just have to correct you on one point (that’s actually a bit off-topic) – WiC has a big area where you drop units off, and not a certain “point”. If you’ll ever come across the Ground Controls, you’ll see why I find that worth correcting.”

    the part where you choose your dropoff points. I did not say “certain dropoff points” I said “dropoff points” and was refering to that you choose your dropoff points from a big area (altough I left that out, thought you would understand).

  6. johannessmidelov says:

    Well, we are talking about the same thing, and sorted this misunderstanding of mine out, so let’s drop this discussion, shall we? This is really off-topic, anyway.

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