OK here is something that's been annoying the hell out of me for ages and here is as good a place as any to have a whinge !
Also it's in the PC section because you just can't play a proper RTS on a console.
In the late 90's Warzone 2100 came out and ruined my work and social calendar for weeks. This game (if you haven't played it) had so many new and usefull ideas that still haven't been replicated in most RTS games today. Here is a few of them...
1) Retreating for repairs automatically.
Being able to get your units (which gained experience and rank with each kill which enabled them to fire faster, further and more accurately) to retreat from battle at a certain damage level to get repaired. You could then set a destination point to where they would go once rapaired or even a command unit which would aid in thier targeting and effectiveness.
2) Full customizable units.
Each weapon, chassis and form of travel (wheels, tracks, hovercraft and flight) could be researched individually and then assembled as per your own specification enabling the design of quick fast moving specialist units to big solid mobile fortresses. None of this scissor, papers rock style of play. You build a big grunty unit and all the resourses you paid for it was not wasted because it did the business !
3) firing on the move.
OK this one happens in a few games but it's worth a mention as I hate it when I send my huge attack force accross the map while I tend to other matters only to find that they encountered the enemy on the way and just kept cruising on without firing a shot and got decimated for their stupidity.
These are only a few things I love in this game and there are many other ideas that I'd love to see in an RTS. Some of the above are in other games (the customizing in Earth 2150 and it's sequals was OK but not as good as 2100) but nothing that has 'everything'.
Anyone else got a wish list for the ultimate RTS ?
Most RTS games I've played allow for firing on the move. The key is never use the "move" command. Always "attack" a location on the map to move your units there. This way they will attack any enemies they encounter on the way.
Yeah Supreme Commander is pretty good although the lack of unit types is a bit annoying that and it took a couple of go before i'd remember to get aircraft to patrol rather than go to a location only to find them on the ground getting wasted by land units.
I find the attack function is usually only available when there is no fog of war (depanding on the game though i guess) . Having to micromanage a long distance movement is time consuming.
Another function I wold love in a game is to be able to prioritize what your units will attack. For example, I hate when I send in a ground army and they spend thier time attacking anti-aircraft units while being pummeled by ground units. SHOOT THE THREAT FIRST I hear myself screaming ! To be able to set a list of targets from primary to least important would be great !
Search and destroy needs to be a feature in every RTS. Just an option to have your currently selected units explore the map and engage any foes they find. This feature has been so wonderfully useful in every RTS it has been in. There is no excuse for it not being in EVERY RTS!
Autocasting special abilities is another that is mindbogglingly not always present. I can understand and appreciate when they won't autocast abilities that cost me resources, but combat abilities should have an option to autocast every time.
Reasonable superweapons. No single weapon in your arsenal should ever EVER have the capability to destroy more than half of a fully built base. Or even a quarter for that matter. A well designed superweapon should take out a couple of buildings at most so that it is a serious threat but it is also possible to come back after being hit by it. This is my key complaint with C&C3 and many games that came before it.
Distinct and interesting units. Thankfully I don't have any recent examples of a game not doing this. The original TA comes to mind. Supcom might also commit the sin of bland and similar units, I haven't played it due to serious overdose on other really good games lately. Every unit should have a role in late game. Every single one should serve a purpose and be viable. Warhammer 40k Dawn of War does this very well. So does Sins of a Solar Empire. Ideally every unit would have a special ability unique to that unit as well, but special abilities can be sacrificed if it is just very good at what it does normally.
I'm with you Infornagraphy, I'm disappointed with the non experimental units lack of diversity and usefullness in SupCom. Maybe i'm just crap at the game but I feel ripped off with limited choices I have when it comes to building units.
Also the age old hidden unit/building search at the end of a multiplayer game can drive one to madness. Gotta love Empire Earth and the auto explore function. Even then it can take half an hour to find the missing minion !
supcom is only really interesting when you reach experimental stage which is one of my few complaints about it but when you get there the difference between the races are marked. And also, on the superweapon front, I think they can have some that are Complete game winners, but cost a ridiculously HUGE sum - thats a proper superweapon (Mavor, paragon for anyone who plays forged alliance ) but again, this is probably my fanboyism for supcom.
oh, and one other thing if you are going to have it so that its not a probability calcuation whether it hits, so that its actually whether it hits, DONT put hills in key choke points where your stuff will just end up shooting the floor.... (another complaint at supcom there) I also like Dawn of war because the units have personality - they aren't all either Giant robots, Marines, or men with swords and shields.
(please forgive my fanboyism , and my post's lack of structure)
Bridges ! I know they are available in the earth 2150 series but it wasn't always possible to deploy and build one where ever you wanted. I know it's probably unrealistic to span great oceans with a bridge but then again it is a game and most of the units you're using are more than likely fictional anyway so why not !! I'm sure it would be so much easier to rush an enemy island with a single destination click that it is to load up multiple ships/transports and then try to deploy them all in one place only to find out that they can't unload because there are too many units there already. By the time you get that sorted your army has been engaged and instead of having an army of 300 you end up attacking with 3 waves of 100 and loosing because you couldn't unload them all !
How bout, giving some of your field battery units the smart ability to not fire at enemy units when theyre in close combat with your own, or close to your buildings? I hate it when theyre set to auto and they blow your own men/structures away just because the enemy is there
I agree with many of the previous posts, I like the large scale of SupCom and the fact that the big artillery guns can shoot a very long distance (the artillery in some games annoys me, like the allies landbased artillery in C&C Red alert, its range was barely longer than the range of the tanks so it was never really worth building it). I like Company of heros for the amount of detail like infantry being able to take cover behind walls and buildings and in craters that my canons made. I also like that rifles will not hurt a tank, and how flanking a tank and shooting the sides and rear does more damage. It is good when you can hide units in places (like a forest) and ambush enemies that walk by. I like when games reward actual planning and strategy, rather than just massive TankRush attacks (the main reason why I cannot play Starcraft on line is I hate when a game is over in five minutes because somone sent a Zergling swam I love the game otherwise, but swarm and rush tactics annoy me, and don't seem very strategic to me). I also like good AI for my units so that they can defend themselves without constant micromanagment, and for any computer controled ally or enemies, and one that does not cheat.
I don't know how I forgot about it but anyone remember BattleZone ?!
A truely brilliant game that has had no run on effect to other games. (The sequel doesn't count !)
How cool was it to build your base, gather an army and then join them on the attack ! Did your ship get wasted ? hell, eject out then get one of your nearby units to cruise up to you get and get out. You can then carry on with the battle while he takes a scenic walk home ! Brilliant !