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RTS essentials

Nutmeg

Arcane
Vatnik Wumao
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The importance of Tiberian Sun is that it single-handedly shows that the RTS genre can be atmospheric and evoke feelings of loneliness, helplessness, and other emotions typically associated with first person games or games that are more about the story of a single character. Tiberian Sun, especially compared to CNC3, did an extremely good job of making the world feel like a barren, barely habitable, treacherous place, filled with hostile life and a toxic atmosphere. CNC3 feels very clean, even in the "Red zones" and virtually every other RTS game I have played that's set in a post-apocalyptic or terrifying, infested setting (StarCraft zerg worlds, Total Annihilaton decimated worlds, Dawn of War endless war etc) just comes across as having a slightly beaten up map that never feels truly inhospitable or dangerous. Most of these places just feel like "game maps", if that makes sense?

I wholeheartedly disagree with you that Tiberian Sun's gameplay is essentially a tech demo, and I feel like you're selling the gameplay short. Great thought and care was put into making the factions different enough to be relevant - GDI has an emphasis on big, clunky land units (Titans, Mammoth MK II, etc), while NOD is more infantry and stealth focused, and this design isn't just reflected in their special unique/commando units, but in other more minor faction differences too (GDI has a vehicle transport Orca, while NOD has an infantry helicopter, for instance, and in Firestorm this is extended to both the GDI mobile war factory and the NOD mobile barracks). Terrain deformation as well as elevation is interesting in regards to certain aspects like disk throwers projectiles having physics, however it is admittedly undercooked. TS's gameplay is far from super innovative, but what's there is there and is interesting.

One of the innovations you didn't mention is how doing optional, hard side missions before main missions can affect what units and resources you have access to in the main missions. For example, in one case you have an optional mission requiring you to capture various bridges, which is a hard mission. In the main mission alongside it, the bridge will explode and prevent enemy reinforcements if you completed the bridge capture mission. I believe this was also removed in Red Alert 2, along with terrain deformation and other things.

Where this aspect really shines is in the "gimmick" missions. Every C&C game has them, you know the ones I'm talking about. Usually you start without a base, often with a special commando or unique unit, and have to infiltrate or take out a special objective, or do something to that effect. The Hospital GDI mission is amazing, and NOD has a few too, where the unit design of the special units aids the gameplay significantly. In the hospital mission, for instance, you have a relatively weak mutant which can instant-kill infantry, a slow firing railgunner who can take out light vehicles, and a defenceless hijacker. Using all three of them together is important and forms most of the challenge for the mission.

I would recommend giving Tiberian Sun another playthrough if you have a chance, and really let yourself get engrossed by it's world. You will have a great time. You should play the expansion (Firestorm) too, which is excellent.
Great post giving a good rebuttal on why you should actually play Tiberian Sun, and an especially good summary on how it too pushed the boundaries of the campaign format. Bookmarked for a future thread index update.
 

Beastro

Arcane
Joined
May 11, 2015
Messages
7,824
There are 3 great lineages of RTS games


These are the "crafts" (Warcraft/Starcraft), C&C, and "Age of" games (Age of Empires/Mythology)


They each feel different and have innovated in different ways

If there were a 4th, it would have probably been Relic with Impossible Creatures / DoW which introduced a different take on resources and positional control

And the "Annihilation" lineage. Total Annihilation, Supreme Commander, Planetary Annihilaition, etc.

skill issue - the post

What a witty retort that absolutely refutes my original point. Bravo. I guess I should expect this level of idiocy from the Codex

Skip unless you're after or especially interested in what I put in parentheses:
  • Tiberian Sun (simulation, Y2K angst era grim future sci-fi),

Not recommending Tiberian Sun is a game crime.

The importance of Tiberian Sun is that it single-handedly shows that the RTS genre can be atmospheric and evoke feelings of loneliness, helplessness, and other emotions typically associated with first person games or games that are more about the story of a single character. Tiberian Sun, especially compared to CNC3, did an extremely good job of making the world feel like a barren, barely habitable, treacherous place, filled with hostile life and a toxic atmosphere. CNC3 feels very clean, even in the "Red zones" and virtually every other RTS game I have played that's set in a post-apocalyptic or terrifying, infested setting (StarCraft zerg worlds, Total Annihilaton decimated worlds, Dawn of War endless war etc) just comes across as having a slightly beaten up map that never feels truly inhospitable or dangerous. Most of these places just feel like "game maps", if that makes sense?

I wholeheartedly disagree with you that Tiberian Sun's gameplay is essentially a tech demo, and I feel like you're selling the gameplay short. Great thought and care was put into making the factions different enough to be relevant - GDI has an emphasis on big, clunky land units (Titans, Mammoth MK II, etc), while NOD is more infantry and stealth focused, and this design isn't just reflected in their special unique/commando units, but in other more minor faction differences too (GDI has a vehicle transport Orca, while NOD has an infantry helicopter, for instance, and in Firestorm this is extended to both the GDI mobile war factory and the NOD mobile barracks). Terrain deformation as well as elevation is interesting in regards to certain aspects like disk throwers projectiles having physics, however it is admittedly undercooked. TS's gameplay is far from super innovative, but what's there is there and is interesting.

One of the innovations you didn't mention is how doing optional, hard side missions before main missions can affect what units and resources you have access to in the main missions. For example, in one case you have an optional mission requiring you to capture various bridges, which is a hard mission. In the main mission alongside it, the bridge will explode and prevent enemy reinforcements if you completed the bridge capture mission. I believe this was also removed in Red Alert 2, along with terrain deformation and other things.

Where this aspect really shines is in the "gimmick" missions. Every C&C game has them, you know the ones I'm talking about. Usually you start without a base, often with a special commando or unique unit, and have to infiltrate or take out a special objective, or do something to that effect. The Hospital GDI mission is amazing, and NOD has a few too, where the unit design of the special units aids the gameplay significantly. In the hospital mission, for instance, you have a relatively weak mutant which can instant-kill infantry, a slow firing railgunner who can take out light vehicles, and a defenceless hijacker. Using all three of them together is important and forms most of the challenge for the mission.

I would recommend giving Tiberian Sun another playthrough if you have a chance, and really let yourself get engrossed by it's world. You will have a great time. You should play the expansion (Firestorm) too, which is excellent.
The atmosphere of the game is awesome. It's the only game that comes close to Fallout's.

My only complaint about it is that it's too dramatic a shift to be the first sequel. There should have been an intermediate C&C between the two periods of time that showed furthering signs of the Tiberium getting out of control and how it was becoming more a curse than a blessing.

The way it is between the two games and the time leap, you get so much wipelash from jumping from the 90s to the future that so much of that effective atmosphere is lost, even if it remains strong.
 
Joined
Jan 5, 2021
Messages
389
Great post giving a good rebuttal on why you should actually play Tiberian Sun, and an especially good summary on how it too pushed the boundaries of the campaign format. Bookmarked for a future thread index update.

I wouldn't say "pushed the boundaries", most of it's additions were iterative. But it's definitely a fun game and worth playing and is IMO the best C&C game.
 

JarlFrank

I like Thief THIS much
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Steve gets a Kidney but I don't even get a tag.
Petroglyph were just asked if they could update Universe at War (as they just did Empire at War) however they answered that they can't. Anyone know the reason?



Petroglyph said:
mcnasty said:
Update universe at war!
Not something we can do.

Same reason Universe at War isn't available on any digital storefront. They probably don't have the rights anymore.
 
Joined
Jan 5, 2021
Messages
389
Cinematic RTS is likely a horrible term. My understanding was that it was a Warcraft 3 or Spellforce style RTS with RPG elements, with some big missions and set pieces revolving around single characters.

While there's nothing inherently wrong with that as an idea, that particular game looked mid at best.
 

RaggleFraggle

Ask me about VTM
Joined
Mar 23, 2022
Messages
985
Cinematic RTS is likely a horrible term. My understanding was that it was a Warcraft 3 or Spellforce style RTS with RPG elements, with some big missions and set pieces revolving around single characters.

While there's nothing inherently wrong with that as an idea, that particular game looked mid at best.
More like RPG with some RTS tacked on. I think that's a complete waste of the RTS genre. RTS naturally has this large scale that would lend itself really well to military fiction and documentary style if devs actually took advantage of that and hired appropriate writers. Instead they still seem to be stuck in the outdated mold of "emulate Hollywood hero movies." Their stories revolve around single superheroes while the actual civilizations are reduced to mere accessories, and I don't think the stories are well written to begin with and just get protected by the childhood nostalgia filter.

For example: Warcraft 3 opens with Medivh barging into King Terenas' council and demanding that Terenas immediately evacuate the whole continent (all several million people?!) to Kalimdor (a continent nobody knew existed) without any explanation. Medivh's demands here are blatantly insane, but he has the gall to get offended when nobody takes his insane rant seriously. Rather than, idk, giving a power point slide to convince them, he just walks away and tries to convince other people instead (with the same result, until Jaina agrees because the plot says so). This writing is atrocious and relies heavily on style over substance, but Warcraft 3 is widely considered a classic of the genre. These are the writing standards we're dealing with, and woe to anyone who tries to criticize it.

As stated above, Tiberian Sun showed us that RTS can do atmospheric storytelling really well without degenerating into a superhero soap opera like the various *Craft games did. Unfortunately, the only RTS I found thus far that even seems to be trying is Immortal: Gates of Pyre, and they're progressing much more slowly than other RTS competing for the same niche like Zerospace or Stormgate. It's so frustrating because even the trickle of lore the IGP team has shared so far is vastly deeper and more nuanced than the shallow derivative predictable cartoony writing that ZS and SG are shaping up to have. IGP intend to support multiverse-style writing where different campaigns can tell wildly different outcomes that better showcase the different civs, which you can't do with the linear canon that other games use. That's novel, fresh and original; an actually good use of the multiverse trope in a genre that badly needs the assistance.
 
Joined
Jan 5, 2021
Messages
389
Cinematic RTS is likely a horrible term. My understanding was that it was a Warcraft 3 or Spellforce style RTS with RPG elements, with some big missions and set pieces revolving around single characters.

While there's nothing inherently wrong with that as an idea, that particular game looked mid at best.
RTS naturally has this large scale that would lend itself really well to military fiction and documentary style if devs actually took advantage of that and hired appropriate writers. Instead they still seem to be stuck in the outdated mold of "emulate Hollywood hero movies."

To be fair, this is true of 99.99% of the writing in videogames nowadays. Videogames in general have absolutely abysmal writing, and I think people who play games in story mode "for the plot" are basically retarded.
 

RaggleFraggle

Ask me about VTM
Joined
Mar 23, 2022
Messages
985
Cinematic RTS is likely a horrible term. My understanding was that it was a Warcraft 3 or Spellforce style RTS with RPG elements, with some big missions and set pieces revolving around single characters.

While there's nothing inherently wrong with that as an idea, that particular game looked mid at best.
RTS naturally has this large scale that would lend itself really well to military fiction and documentary style if devs actually took advantage of that and hired appropriate writers. Instead they still seem to be stuck in the outdated mold of "emulate Hollywood hero movies."

To be fair, this is true of 99.99% of the writing in videogames nowadays. Videogames in general have absolutely abysmal writing, and I think people who play games in story mode "for the plot" are basically retarded.
You wouldn’t believe the people I chatted with who seriously thought Chris Metzen was a great writer. He’s had decades to refine his skill and he still writes like every first time fantasy novelist with no experience. Even his coworkers have admitted he’s scatterbrained and routinely needed help writing in the middle of meetings because he kept forgetting what he wrote. Yet Frost Giant Studios hires him as a consultant? Just goes to show that talent and skill are worthless and you just need to be lucky and suck the right dicks to get ahead in life.
 

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