And here we are, seven articles later. As I said, the original articles were written in 2004, but remain fairly startlingly relevant today – the RTT genre has undergone a massive renascence and is more popular than ever, but RTS games have sadly stalled and come up against flawed efforts such as Planetary Annihilation and Grey Goo.
As I also said,” This series is not intended in any way to denigrate other genres, or to insult game developers. It’s about broadening horizons and exploring possibilities”. I hope that the possibilities and concepts discussed in these articles will have given RTS developers ideas – and in fact I know they have, thanks to the TAUniverse.net forums, still a little active after all these years!
To touch on the major points again, I discussed ways of having a game with a vast scale of combat, a certain lack of micro-management and detail (the distributed building system, in particular), automation and ways to make the AI “smarter” via guiding it, balance methodology – combined arms operations – and the need for a data-driven structure.
On that, it’s no coincidence that Total Annihilation still has some active mod developers no less than eighteen years down the line. And I would argue that, today, mod capacity is even more important for building and holding a community. And finally, I talked about strategic choices. About giving players multiple ways to win and strategies to follow, and to avoid the stalemates of Supreme Commander.
I am not, of course, being prescriptive. There are many ways to approach game development and thinking, what matters is not being limited by pre-conceived notions – such as the old one of “RTS’s can’t be done in 3D”, which was so common even into the mid-2000’s. Total Annihilation was a trailblazer, a game which deserves an important place in the history of strategy games. Thank you for taking the time to read this article series, and I welcome feedback.