Weekly Discussion #14 - What other RTS do you like to play, and what can FAF learn from them?

As you can tell we've had a bit of a hiatus while I was busy with work and coming up with new discussion topics.

Question's in the title, not much to elaborate on. šŸ˜›

C&C Generals: Zero Hour

Lessons learned: even a game with massively fucked up balancing can be fun to play.
Also the mechanic of time based actions / reinforcements from outside the map are pretty cool (e.g. call a carpet bomber every 10 minutes)

"Nerds have a really complicated relationship with change: Change is awesome when WE'RE the ones doing it. As soon as change is coming from outside of us it becomes untrustworthy and it threatens what we think of is the familiar."
ā€“ Benno Rice

i sometimes play old RTS on console emulators on my phone, sega and ps1. Something like dune 2, dune 2000, Warzone 2100.

I liked Warhammer 40000 down of war and winter assault for campaing... i could understand what was happening, missions were at least kinda connected to each other, while on FA campaing i understood pretty much nothing

I remember playing Black & White 2, it has strategic zoom, it is a nice chill game, but it is not an RTS so not much to learn from there.

Don't remember any "new" RTS after supcom that i would enjoy

There are also spring RTS games
Zero-K is pretty crazy with different commander types, ton of different stuff available from the start, automatic context sensetive micro on the attack move, terraforming.
Less crazy and more cool feature is mex overcharge (excess power boosts mex mass production, but with diminishing returns, and only if mex is connected to power grid, and there can be isolated power grids, it is hard to explain but you are incetivised to connect all your pgen and all your mexes into a power grid to minimise diminishing returns factor)

Currently sometimes play Beyond all reason, it is also a spring style RTS but closer to TA and less crazy but still has quite some crazy stuff, lots of crazy stuff that would talke to long to list
Crazy stuff makes game more fun on lower skill level, everything feels overpowered while bases are fragile it makes game more intence. Tho sometimes it feels bad to lose everything cause single unit or even single scout has sneaked begind your frontline, but maybe i am just greedy and need to build more defences šŸ˜„
Beyond all reason is not released yet, but fully playable
it has no unit bumping so units don't get stuck.
When someone lags in that game it does not slow down the game for other players.
connection problems are mostly due to players internet and rarely due to the game/lobby itself
Sim lag exists but less noticable, tho when it begins it feels like game is dying xD
less delay when you issue a command
Line-move, area commands, repeat orders for units, and other cool commands that make it easyer to play
Air can be very strong but it is not overpowered
Game has higher minimal requirement for GPU, intel iGPU is not enough to play it properly

TA4Life: "At the very least we are not slaves to the UI" | http://www.youtube.com/user/dimatularus | http://www.twitch.tv/zlo_rd

I'm plat in Starcraft 2 (Terran). It's taught me a very hard lesson to use control groups consistently, not necessarily to move groups of units on a hotkey, but to control the flow of production to meet the current economic situation without having to look away from a battle. It can be helpful in FAF to have your air factory on a hotkey to pause it when you need more E for OCs or an upgrade.

put the xbox units in the game pls u_u

Command C&C3 Kanes Wrath

Strategic faction diversity, i.e. this faction is better at raiding or this one is better at defence, is bad for map diversity. As a result, maps need to balance the factions rather than the factions balancing against themselves. An example is any map that gets too big not being balanced because the raiding faction's strength is over expressed. Each map needs to allow each faction to express it's strengths equally by allowing it's strategies to work or the map isn't balanced. In a way it prevents stupid map designs from being playable but I don't think raising the mapping skill floor makes map makers better.
Starcraft is another example where map variety is limited. A map with more than one entrance to the base is not even considered. Starting resources are also always the same. Even the dead area behind a base needs to be balanced so air units can't hide in it too well. This was around HOTS btw in case it's somehow radically changed since but I doubt it.

FA doesn't have much problem since the factions copy each other a lot but it's a reasonable thing to remember. Diversity is different ways to do the same thing not one faction doing something another can't or doing it much better than the others because 'it's the attacking faction'. I'm not saying all the factions should be clones, but when they are different other factions should have a means to compete in a 'balanced enough' way.
One example I personally dislike in FA is T1 hover asymmetry since it prevents a lot of 5x5 map designs from being viable that could otherwise work. I'd prefer if all or no factions had T1 hover. Even just hover labs for uef/cyb could help ease the pain of hover on 5x5. I know this stuff is more suited for a mod, it's just an example of the idea.

Someone mentioned global skills like artillery strikes. C&C3 KW has these and they are awful. Faction with the best 'one clicks' (since they win the game in one click) also has the fastest units. If you spread your army you get picked off, if you clump all they all die to the kill button. The game also has other cancer like making a group of units invincible but they can't shoot but units can crush others in this game, so you just have some stupid invincible units driving around your base like a bunch of drunks that you can't kill for however long the ability lasts trying to crash into everything. Also there's an aoe skill for 'cybran' that gives all units in it's range stealth/cloak permanently, and this game has something of an equivalent to T4s. You have to use game audio to hear T4s driving around your base so they don't drive over all your units and crush them. You can probably guess I don't play this game anymore.

The FA campaign did have some extra abilities that added some fun like unit reinforcements, a nuke, the princesses eye spy thing. Maybe galactic war could have these support powers. UEF could summon a novax for 30 seconds every 5 mins with an ACU upgrade. 8v8 could then be 8 novax appearing over you and killing you instantly for being so stupid as to invade the defence faction on their home turf. Cybran could have Brackman hack the other players computer preventing them from playing for 10s as well as resetting their hotkeys. And aeon could drop an acu anywhere on the field that instantly blows up for 2.5k damage like a mercy but an acu instead since they are the terrorist faction.