Monaco Developer Announces “First Great Gamepad RTS”

By Jim Rossignol on March 12th, 2014 at 4:30 pm.

Monaco developer Pocketwatch have announced a new game, which they are currently calling “Armada”. This is, they stress, currently a working title, and the game is in the very earliest phases of development, having no real art to its name. But there is a strong concept, and they’re keen to talk about that.

I caught up with pocketwatch man, Andy Schatz, to talk about the new game, which he described as “an RTS you could play in a party setting.” Have a nose at that below.

Andy Schatz has been working the indie angle for many years, but he is now best known for his IGF-winning Monaco, which was supported by Indie Fund, and won the coveted award with what turned out to be quite an early version of the co-op heist game. With over 750,000 units now shipped Schatz says he has “no complaints” over the game that took him three years to complete.

You join us as we discuss the pitfalls of developing games, which are so often such complex problems that they could be worked on forever. “We were six months from finishing the game for about two years, I think,” says Schatz of his time on Monaco. “Because you’re always at about six months to go and then you think ‘I could add this one thing, and then…’ That’s another month of work.”

I suggest that games are often more abandoned than finished, thanks to that endless potential for adding and finessing. “I love the analogy of sandcastles for games,” says Schatz. “It seems so appropriate to say that sometimes the tide comes in and you just have to work on something new. But, regardless of that, the most important thing you can do is finish games. This isn’t about just making games, it’s about finishing them.”

Having supported Monaco for almost a year with ongoing updates (largely with the help of Schatz’ partner at Pocketwatch, Andy Nguyen) it seems that they are now finished, and it’s time for that next thing. “I spent much of last summer prototyping games, and the first one I did was similar to Armada in a lot of ways. It’s a game design I have been holding onto for years and years, and the first time I built some iteration of this was back in college with my room mate. It was called Dino Drop and was a split-screen strategy game with autonomous units. The idea of a real-time strategy game with autonomous units has always been something I have wanted to make. We only ever got into the very basics of the prototype of that game, but it stayed, and that’s also the inspiration of the Venture games that I built: dropping characters into a world, and using your knowledge of their behaviour to develop a strategy.”

Schatz says this led to the new Pocketwatch project, which they are codenaming Armada, or more typographically, [ARMADA]. “I’m not even ready to get into the narrative or setting of the world yet, which is an odd way to approach it,” he says.

What interests Schatz enough to talk publicly at this stage, though, is the systems that are common to RTS games. He immediately cites classic Starcraft and C&C as influences, but also diagnoses problems with the RTS as it is currently understood. “These days I don’t want to sit at my desk to play RTS games with strangers. Even though I am a PC gamer, I want something more comfortable.”

“One of the shells I’d like to crack here is to be able to play this game at a deep level, but also make it approachable for people who aren’t familiar with or immediately comfortable with PC RTS games.”

Does that mean slowing down the pace from the frienzied heights of PC RTS clickathons? “No!” exclaims Schatz, “but micro and APM are such dominant forces in real-time strategy games that if you play against someone who has a higher APM they’re generally going to beat you. You can win through smarts, but nevertheless that’s one of the things that make RTS games less approachable.”

This is something Pocketwatch have obviously been breaking down, as is clear from Schatz’ examples of how other games work: “It’s interesting to put Warcraft 2 and the original C&C next to each other. In Warcraft it’s much more zoomed in, and characters will have abilities that require a click, but in C&C it’s further out, slower, and everything is controlled with a single click. RTS now means constant clicking, zooming about the map, and that endless micro. The earlier RTS games definitely felt slower, but they were less focused on that micro. We want to make that micro management fun. The problem is that as a physical task it’s not that interesting to learn. Oppose that with learning to play Geometry Wars, where there’s a thin connection between you and what’s happening on screen, and you can see the difference. In an RTS like Starcraft the translation of ideas in your brain to actually executing things on screen is much longer.”

What this means for Armada is a design that gets rid of unit orders, and makes things playable on a game pad. “A game pad is analogue,” Schatz observes, “and as a consequence it is centered around a single point in space. That means the gamepad is built for controlling characters, but less good for micro-managing units in an RTS. So what we’ve done is create a character, in a similar way to a MOBA, but the strategies and behaviours of the game world are definitely those you would be familiar with from an RTS: you are building factories that pump out units, and you are taking advantage of their particular intelligence in your strategy.”

The MOBA mention should not worry those who are uncomfortable in the world of lane games, it seems: “We’ve gone some of the way towards how a MOBA does things, but then we came back towards the RTS again.”

Schatz goes on to explain a little more about this autonomous unit concept: “Some sorts of fighting unit are going to go off and just find and fight the enemy,” he says, “Or another might follow the player, and another might defend the general area unless the player collects that unit for an attack. You might have units that are behaviourally defenders, and gather resources, but attack if enemies get close. Selection of how units will act happens at build time, therefore, rather than on a moment to moment basis. Customising the buildings you create will change the behaviour units associated with that factory, and so on. So all the RTS stuff is right there.”

The plan is for the playable version of Armada to start with a PvP matchmaking game, but Schatz envisions it supporting co-op, and that leading to a PvE situation. “I don’t want to promise game features we haven’t implemented, so to some extent we’ll just have to use our imagination. With Monaco we always felt like we were six months from done, but this time we’ll embrace that… but once we have a PvE campaign there’s not a huge leap to turn that into single player.”

The reason to announce now, Schatz explains, is because he wants to do this in public, and get people involved as quickly as possible.

“What we’re building, at its heart, is a multiplayer real-time strategy game, and that revolves around community. One of the things I found with Monaco was that just developing in the open from the beginning is fun. Every single time you have an idea you can test it in public.”

“We’ll have it on Early Access as soon we have a build that is playable,” says Schatz.

That might be a while off, of course, and there are no dates set. As you can see, the assets are fairly sparse, with Schatz quickly drawing us a logo on some lined paper. He says of the current build: “It is not pretty! I expect we’re going to leave it that way for a good long time.” But art, aesthetic and character design, he notes, represent their own problems and opportunities, and this was a lesson they learned from Monaco. “We definitely discovered there is a huge power in roleplay. Not even conscious roleplay, necessarily. People just liked certain characters, and would play as the character they saw themselves as. That was a huge entry point, and was an important thing that we did right.”

“Another point,” he says, “was that we sold a lot of copies and we did that with a game that is pretty weird-looking. We’re nowhere in Armada from an art perspective, and we probably will go with a more approachable art style this time, but I think the lesson from Monaco was that you don’t have to make a game that is for everyone, you just have make someone’s favourite game. And if it’s someone’s favourite game, it should appeal to a lot of people. We want to make someone’s favourite real-time strategy game, of all time. If we can do that, we’ll have succeeded.”

“And hey, we’re not Minecraft, but someone just messaged us with a Monaco-themed wedding cake. That’s pretty cool. That means we’ll approach Armada in the same way.”

You can keep up with the plans for Armada over on the Pocketwatch site.

__________________

« | »

, , , , , .

78 Comments »

  1. wraithgr says:

    So basically herzog zwei/airmech but without the focus on player combat capabilities?

    • Vinraith says:

      Ah Herzog Zwei, I loved that thing when I was a kid. Claiming that they’re developing the “First Gamepad RTS” is a real joke considering the history of the genre.

      • AndySchatz says:

        heh, i know it’s not the first, but we’re being cocky and calling it the first “great” RTS.

        • Tallim says:

          But Shadow Of The Horned Rat worked amazingly well with a controller
          EDIT: :P sorry, sounded too serious so needed to add emoticon for added light hearted joshing

          • AndySchatz says:

            Can’t speak to SOTHR, haven’t played it. We ran into the same communication problems with Monaco :) “YOU HAVENT PLAYED THEY STOLE A MILLION???!?!?!”

          • AndySchatz says:

            and I think i just realized you were joking…

  2. Radiant says:

    Ok Monaco developer. So the game should be fun.
    Ok Monaco developer. So the game should be out in the year 2025.

    Hopefully when it’s finished our robot machine god earth ruler wil let us play the game.

    • AndySchatz says:

      Perhaps, but this time we will keep early access as a possibility. We couldnt do that with Monaco because of XBLA. Regardless, we wont sell something until we think it’s worth paying for!

      BTW, Monaco took 3.5 years. It wasn’t THAT crazy of a dev time!

      • AndySchatz says:

        also i shouldnt take myself so seriously :) thanks for liking monaco

        • SuddenSight says:

          I think the issue with Monaco isn’t the dev time. As a game player, not a developer or publisher, dev time is mostly invisible to me.

          The time that I remember is really the time between when the game first gets publicity (the 2010 IGF for Monaco) to the release date (which was in 2013). So the game might have had a fairly reasonable development time – and based on interviews with other indie devs 3 or 4 years definitely sounds like a reasonable dev time for a game – but it *felt* long because most games I don’t hear about until the last year or so of dev time.

          Either way, I encourage all devs to take their sweet time making games because the finished product typically benefits from the extra care. But if someone ever invents a time machine, please consider using it to make game development instantaneous. That would be a fantastic world.

          • AndySchatz says:

            :) Yeah, and to be honest, we were delusional about how close we were to done. Like it says in the interview, it always felt like we were only 6 months away. So I was always giving the wrong impression to increasingly impatient fans.

        • Radiant says:

          Hey I was just messing around.
          Monaco is a wonderful game.
          Hopefully armada will be too.

          You know if steam is available on our lunar colony. :)

  3. wraithgr says:

    Hey Andy, since you’re reading the thread: Can you hint/name some mechanics of the games I mentioned that you are changing/improving?

    • AndySchatz says:

      Sure! I actually think Airmech is really good, but it feels more like a hybrid to me than a classic RTS. So I’m definitely not disparaging Airmech, just saying that it doesnt satisfy that particular craving of a classic RTS for me.

      I do think there are a couple problems with the design (as there are with most games with new mechanics). In particular I don’t much like the “taxi” feel — ferrying other units around is not all that fun and a tough problem to solve.

      So here’s my confession: this “announcement” is largely about our intention. Once we decided we wanted to pursue this concept, we knew we needed to “announce” it so we could start open development, but there’s really not much there yet! We did an early prototype at the beginning of the summer that we loved, and I restarted with clean architecture a little over a month ago.

      As for Herzog Zwei — you’re gonna hate me. I obviously know about it but I haven’t played it. I’m pretty comfortable GUESSING that it’s not really one for the ages, since it hasn’t been repeated — despite being a game many people remember fondly.

      • wraithgr says:

        No worries, I never bought zwei when it came out and when I tried it on emulator years later… Let’s just say it hadn’t aged well. Airmech is the direct spiritual successor. I’m really glad you mention taxiing units as that is, I agree, the one mechanic I wish they had handled differently…

      • Baines says:

        As for Herzog Zwei, it was enough of one for the ages that people wondered for decades why developers weren’t doing similar games.

        Which, in some ways, isn’t that big a mystery. Games and ideas just slip through the cracks. It happens a lot, as genres become set in certain styles. It doesn’t mean that elements were inferior or didn’t work, it just means that they fell outside the established norms and eventually were pruned away. I’m sure most readers here could rattle off games that they’d like to see more off, but which developers for one reason or another just won’t deliver.

        For PC gamers, Herzog Zwei influenced the development of Dune II. Dune II influenced the development of what came afterwards. PC RTS evolved in certain directions, with elements being pruned and shaped not necessarily due to quality, but popularity and acceptance. On the other hand, consoles focused on other genres, both in experiments and as certain genres solidified into “console fare”.

  4. Gurrah says:

    You know there’s an actual game called Armada, and it’s quite good even though it’s been in development much longer than Monaco and at their current pace that new game codenamed Armada might be released first. But wait, you can already play the Armada that actually exists because it was actually one of the first early access games that I know of and on top of that it’s free! AND! there’s a Steam greenlight page for it – so what are you waiting for, go there now and play Armada. Seriously though, I am a bit sad it has never been mentioned on RPS.

    You’re welcome!

  5. Kompatriartes says:

    They should look at this indie free single unit RTS for some ideas, it’s pretty fun but not terribly deep:
    http://www.queasygames.com/gate88/

    They need to have a look at where this went right, and where it went wrong.

    • AndySchatz says:

      Yep, we looked at Gate88 pretty closely. I wish this had been explored further!

      • missing says:

        As a non-RTS gamer, I have been playing Auralux on my phone and enjoying it quite a bit lately.
        Link: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.wardrumstudios.auralux
        This is touted as a ‘single unit rts’ as well, is that similar to gate 88?

        • KDR_11k says:

          I wonder if they mean single unit or single unit type. The latter tends to be Galcon style which I really don’t like at all. I mean, technically you can do other designs with just a single unit type as well (I made a mod called Dozerz back in the day that kinda tried to explore the limits of that) but almost nobody ever does, everybody just goes Galcon style and calls it tablet friendly or something like that.

        • AndySchatz says:

          aurulux is great, and by a local san diego dev (and friend), E McNeill! We’ve talked with him a fair amount about similar challenges

    • realitysconcierge says:

      HOLY SHIT I played that game when I was tiny! Good to see it again.

  6. tomeoftom says:

    You don’t actually have to look far to find deep RTS games with simple controls – Company of Heroes requires very few button presses and pointer accuracy compared to almost any other Marianas-deep RTS. Grouping units to squads, slow unit movement, and area denial / cover-based combat means most of the frantic thought is to do with tactics, not how to interact with your units.

    It’s a beautifully designed game that no-one’s taking enough lessons from – it totally reassembled what an RTS could be like from first principles, and as a result it’s free of “hardcore” / historical design tropes. I can easily see it being controllable using a Cortex Command-esque “hold trigger to free-look and release to snap cursor to nearest unit/cover”.

    • AndySchatz says:

      Oh man, COH is a super cool game but I can’t deal with the nature of the micro in it. We’re actually going in the opposite direction from that approach

      • DatonKallandor says:

        You also haven’t been keeping up with the Genre. RUSE and Wargame are incredibly low APM high thought RTSes. Not all RTS are clickfests – that’s just Blizzard and people trying to imitate Blizzard trying to hold the genre back to the way it used to be a decade ago.

    • Vandelay says:

      Yes, I’m amazed that CoH is not more copied too. I always felt it struck a great balance between the old and new style RTS. Unfortunately, the only game that compares is the sequel, which, although I enjoyed it, just wasn’t as good.

      • FriendlyFire says:

        I think it’s just that there aren’t all that many RTS games at all, and the only games of comparable size (in terms of budget and prominence) are Total War and Starcraft. Since Starcraft is so insanely popular, I doubt any dev is going to take a page or two from CoH when Starcraft succeeded at a much larger scale than CoH by not doing it :/

      • SmokeSeller says:

        Well, I would say that Company of Heroes (and Dawn of War) owe a large part of their design to Z, an RTS by the Bitmap Brothers. Capturing territories as the source of income, units composed of multiple soldiers, destructible terrain, capturing enemy weapons, the whole rock-paper-scissor approach to unit pairings… Z did a lot of innovative stuff. An amazing design that too many people have forgotten.

  7. Gap Gen says:

    It’s a shame the Play store is in such bad shape, with manipulative F2P games crowding out anything worth playing. Stuff like Imperium Galactica 2 exists on the tablet, but it’s a straight port and as such some of the commands are a little awkward on a touchscreen.

    • Teovald says:

      Sadly, that’s where the money is on mobile.
      It does not prevent Android or iOS from having some truly great games (and even some very rare great games that also have sane IAPs) but I would not mind seeing the fall of F2P.

  8. BarryK says:

    “First Great Gamepad RTS”

    Now there’s a bold statement. Until fairly recently I was sure even a great turn based strategy wouldn’t work with a controller outside of just poorly emulating a mouse, now I generally play Firaxis’s XCOM with a gamepad on the PC and Valkyria Chronicles happened on PS3 and PSP. I’m genuinely interested in seeing Pocketwatch try to streamline and reinvigorate one of my favourite genres (which, lets be honest, has seen better days) while maintaining that sense of deliberate control that’s so important in an RTS. It’s definitely a title I’ll be keeping an eye on.

    • AndySchatz says:

      Awesome! Yep, we figured there’s no point in trying to be modest about our intentions. Of course the real jury will be you folks!

    • Josh W says:

      But wait though; aren’t both of those examples actually turn based strategies with interuption mechanics?

      Controlers work fine when you’re hopping from unit to unit, making choices from their perspective – in fact you could also put worms in the same category, as an early controller friendly strategy game – wheras one of the strengths of the mouse is it’s capacity to sweep the screen quickly.

      Actually, the way that modern rts games use hotkeys could form a solution to that; they are there to overcome the fact that the mouse has extremely effective reach within one screen, but has difficulties beyond it. So you could probably make an rts -ish game where you put down waypoints seperated a certain distance away from each other, maybe even with zoom in/out capacity, and then you could apply orders to those waypoints or move them, swap between them as points of camera focus by using the left stick, and reach out from them to influence things with the right. So you could stick a standing order on one waypoint telling everyone to go towards another one, and grab all the units from local factories.

  9. Tei says:

    Posting here to mention Tom Clany EndWar, that also did RTS+Controlpad thing. But nobody called it great, so maybe it was not.

  10. Ephant says:

    I played KKND2: Krossfire… On PS1… Which was great…

  11. witzkawumme (wkw) says:

    APM = Actions Per Minute (?)

    would be nice to “edit” some stuff… even RTS

  12. Teovald says:

    Schatz goes on to explain a little more about this autonomous unit concept: “Some sorts of fighting unit are going to go off and just find and fight the enemy,” he says, “Or another might follow the player, and another might defend the general area unless the player collects that unit for an attack. You might have units that are behaviourally defenders, and gather resources, but attack if enemies get close. Selection of how units will act happens at build time, therefore, rather than on a moment to moment basis. Customising the buildings you create will change the behaviour units associated with that factory, and so on. So all the RTS stuff is right there.”
    That sounds great. I recently played to Planetary Annihilation, Dungeon Keeper (the old one, not the mobile atrocity) and Evil Genius and I can’t shake the feeling that DK & EG had understood a lot about RTS gameplay.
    Having to micromanage your units (especially the builders) feel like a chore to me. DK got this right : I plan the construction of a room and they automatically start building it. If one of them die, the construction is not lost, it just mean that another will continue instead.

    • AndySchatz says:

      those are actually really good examples. DK was not far off from being somethign that could be really good on a controller

      • Reapy says:

        I really liked how stronghold did it as well, having worker sliders, just allocate the percentage of workers you wanted doing specific things and they divvy themselves up automatically. Then having big buttons to run the workers all back into the castle should there be any problems.

      • Teovald says:

        I will have to keep an eye on this project then.
        I may not be in the majority since SC2 still sold very well but excessive micromanagement has killed my interest in the RTS genre.

  13. Machinations says:

    brave, arent they – many have tried, they tried and they died

    Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.

  14. rasputine says:

    Always glad to see a new approach to the RTS genre. I’m also very interested in Soren Johnson and Mohawk Games first game as they too are hoping to bring something new to the table.

  15. Zoomon says:

    I don’t think that the developer who released the xbox version of Monaco weeks later than the other versions, and then failed to release the prequel campaign and halloween content on that platform, can say anything at all about great Gamepad experiences.

    • rasputine says:

      I would bet an important amount of bitcoins that the developer had zero responsibility in any of those complaints.

      • Zoomon says:

        Well the first one was, because there was a bug in the multiplayer in the release sent to microsoft, so it need re submitting, and re-certifying before release. I know bugs aren’t always easy to quash pre-release, but it wasn’t Microsoft’s fault that the submitted game was buggy.

        The second one, I imagine was based on sales, but I paid the same price for the Xbox version as everyone else paid for the PC one, so I feel somewhat shortchanged at having the Halloween DLC not even appear on Xbox (paying for it or not, would be an Xbox issue, but that’s one of the limitations of the platform)

        • Baines says:

          Microsoft has denied free DLC before, though even then there were double standards. (Such as a third-party developer being told that they’d have to charge for DLC while a 1st party Microsoft game was offering free DLC.)

          I want to recall some developers complained about DLC release issues with Microsoft, but the only ones I can think of at the moment are Trendy, who laid their complaint elsewhere. (Trendy’s reason for not releasing Dungeon Defenders DLC on the 360 was that the 360 did not have enough RAM. Trendy would later release their most expensive DLC for the 360 anyway.)

  16. xfstef says:

    Hello Andy Schatz. Good luck with your game ! The PC RTS Community is pretty hungry though … you’d best not startle the beast unless you’re sure you can deliver.

  17. barney says:

    There was an AVP RTS on XBox that was a lot of fun and suited the gamepad pretty well. Anyone remember that?

    • DatonKallandor says:

      Yeah it was on PS2 as well. It was interesting – but incredibly tedious to control. It would have made a fantastic PC game.

  18. Moraven says:

    RUSE worked well with a controller. We could use more slower paced, not as micro dependent RTS games.

    Automonous RTS makes me think of the Tug a War maps and others in SC2 Arcade. And well, pre-Dota All Stars there were Dota like maps that allowed you construct buildings and upgrade units. Course kills were your resource. And there is Demigod.

    Now I got thinking of Dungeon Keeper. You could make armies, possess and go romping around.

    Halo Wars is a good recent controller RTS. The interest in RTS on consoles does not seem to be there. As was Supreme Commander 2 for what it was (which should not have been a sequel with that many changes to the core of a game).

    Concept sounds like Overlord/Spellforce with the ability to manage your eco on the go. Then there was Goblin Commander (made by some ex-Blizzard), which had some eco but the gameplay was not quite fleshed and deep.

    I hope you plan to still have the ability to do attacks with other groups not part of your hero. Else its just an action game with some eco mechanics. Or just give us an updated Sacrifice that works on both m/kb and controller.

    • AndySchatz says:

      Halo Wars is an example where they largely tried to TRANSLATE the controls, rather than rebuild the game so that it worked. I can’t help but shake the feeling that their game would still be better on a Mouse/Keyboard.

      Def lots of other similarities out there. But I can’t name any that really hit the right notes, IMO!

      • Moraven says:

        Fair enough. It worked, but could have been better. That point makes me think of people using a 360 controller to play Starcraft 2. Some have been able to successfully play it well with it, although not ideal. A lot better than playing Starcraft 64…

        Sounds like you are looking at what works and what never did and putting it all into a indie pot and cook us some soupy goodness.

        Look forward to trying what you come up with.

        \

  19. cyrenic says:

    The description of this game reminds me a lot of Shiny Entertainment’s “Sacrifice”

  20. KDR_11k says:

    Oh yeah, I know the fun of trying to innovate with RTSes, especially the bonus fun from the sheer complexity of RTS design (since it goes far beyond “does this feel good to play” and must be tested for all kinds of edge cases that players may cause). It’s too easy to implement your innovation but fail to deliver a solid RTS on top of that. E.g. Achron’s time stuff was very cool but from what I heard the units and such themselves weren’t so good. The KD-Labs games (Perimeter, Maelstrom, Perimeter 2) had cool ideas and tech but the unit selection and combat was crap. There are also hundreds of those linear RTSes but Swords & Soldiers is one of the few great ones that actually get the units and such right.

    The Armor Alley lineage is also pretty interesting when it comes to RTSes that aren’t cursor controlled. I like the combat physics of Glory Days 2 on the DS, for example.

    Some RTSes take unit combat to such a speed that it’s basically an action game, I’ve seen Star Craft compared to it and when I played Gundam RTS there was a lot of time where you’d just attack move your mook units and then micro a hero unit heavily, sidestepping incoming projectiles and such. That was fun too. If you can sufficiently automate the macro-side (or reduce it to inputting your rough strategy and letting the game take care of building everything up) you can probably get some form of action-style unit control system.

    Now, approachable RTSes are a whole different matter. RTS is practically by definition a very hard genre to play against others because timing matters and there’s no direct feedback to your timing. With Kernel Panic we made a fairly easy to learn RTS but you still need to get used to genre conventions like not wasting any time if you don’t want your enemy to grab map control much faster than you and thus outproduce you.

  21. CookPassBabtridge says:

    OK. Why is it that a hand drawn picture THAT INCLUDES THE PEN that it was presumably drawn with, is somehow more compelling than just the picture itself? Is it some indicator of freshness? A tangible link between us and the artist? The idea it has somehow been drawn especially for us a moment ago, and not just scribbled during some moment of boredom and since been used to wipe bogeys on? Does it somehow furnish us with the sense that we ourselves have just had the pleasure of using a lovely wet magic marker to scrawl that bold image (only to perhaps be neurotically bothered that it leaked through onto the page behind?)

    Would an internet comment be more intriguing if it was accompanied by a picture of the keyboard that was used to type it?

    I am honestly intrigued by the mise en scene of pen+picture pictures. Answers on a postcard or small electronically generated box.

    • SuddenSight says:

      Somewhat OT, but your comment reminds of “box with the sound of its construction” (or something to that effect).

      It was… A wooden box… With a speaker hidden inside. The speaker played an audio tape the artist recorded while constructing the box.

      That was probably the most existential experience I ever had looking at a box.

      • CookPassBabtridge says:

        Heh sorry yeah good point – my post is a bit off topic to begin with :) But yeah, I love stuff like that. Things that produce an inner effect that you can’t quite name. Just a feeling that sits there and goes “Hmm. What ya think of that then?”.

    • AndySchatz says:

      Jim: “Do you have screenshots you can send me?
      Me: “No.”

      So I wrote up that title card, trying to make it obvious how early in dev it is, and then replaced my stolen SC2 assets with handdrawn ones in the prototype. :)

      • CookPassBabtridge says:

        Well I for one would like to ponder “Scribbled logo with pen” in an art gallery somewhere. Or at least have a high quality jpeg of it as an unlockable that replaces the main title screen when you complete the game the first time :)

  22. somnolentsurfer says:

    Perhaps the autonomous units could have sliders for adrenalin, perception and intelligence…

  23. Gap Gen says:

    A text search for Battlezone on this page draws a blank, but it’s a neat example of how action-oriented RTS can work. Battlezone itself had a lot of buttons to learn, but I imagine the interface could be streamlined for a gamepad.

    • AndySchatz says:

      I know Battlezone had a pretty passionate following, but it just didn’t connect for me. It felt too hybrid… not very good at either of the things it was trying to do. [ARMADA] is definitely going to be played from a top-down perspective (same camera angle as other RTS games), which I think makes it pretty diff from BZ off the bat. Beyond that, though, I’m sure there will be a few similarities!

  24. Potocobe says:

    Am I the only person that played Dark Reign and Dark Reign 2 and liked them? I always wonder why they never get mentions in RTS conversations. Dark Reign did some innovative things with unit scripting that let me have a front line that didn’t need micro management and allowed me to focus on feints and flanking maneuvers against a pretty tough AI. You could with one click set one or more units into search and destroy mode or hit and run mode. Your smart little tanks could start cruising along a patrol path you set up and automatically track and fire on any enemies they encountered without stopping their patrol. You could set your front line artillery to focus fire on an area instead of an individual unit. You could set a damage threshold on any one or all of your units that would cause them to retreat to the nearest repair base, wait in line to repair and return to where they were without you needing to do a single other thing. This was back in the late 90′s mind you but I don’t think any other RTS ever had these features and they made that game a sheer joy to play. I never could beat the sequel and I tried and tried and loved every minute of it.

  25. Jenks says:

    Time will tell if you are able to top this masterpiece:
    https://www.bitreplay.com/images/P/196958_41908_front.jpg

Comment on this story

XHTML: Allowed code: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>