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XBox (Games)

Developing An RTS For The 360 35

Gamasutra is running an interesting piece entitled The Battle for Console Earth. Louis Castle of EA describes the process of making an RTS title for the Xbox 360 console. From the article: "Castle's approach to the Xbox 360 version of The Lord of the Rings: Battle for Middle-Earth II was to approach the RTS genre as if it were never on the personal computer. Let's go back to the beginning. Let's look at these strategy games, as if they were new. How would we approach it now? Let's pretend that there never was a mouse, and all we had were consoles. How would we bring this about?"
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Developing An RTS For The 360

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  • They should just release starcraft onto the 360...they did it with N64....starcraft is f*king zerglings............
    • Let's pretend that there never was a mouse, and all we had were consoles. How would we bring this about?
      Just dumb it the hell down and remove all the dynamism of control gained by having fast precise mouse/keyboard input, never stopped you before. I mean, look what it did to the parent.
  • by evil-osm ( 203438 ) on Friday January 13, 2006 @07:06PM (#14468013)
    Let's pretend that there never was a mouse, and all we had were consoles.

    My god! Imagine the the amount of deskspace you'd need then!
  • I want to see an RTS for the Nintendo DS. It has a near perfect interface for one already. A joystick just isn't fast and precise enough to command an entire army and deal with multiple tasks at once(like fighting a war on two fronts). The stylus can mimic a mouse very well, all you would really be missing are hotkeys.
    • all you would really be missing are hotkeys.

      I hear the DS has some buttons, too. :D

    • Re:Forget the 360 (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Sparkio ( 944072 )
      IGN did an interview a week or so ago about Age of Empires for the DS: [] Still listed in the RTS genre, though from the read it's less real-time and more turn-based.
    • For that matter, the revolution. A 3D pointing device would work as well as a mouse.
      • It wouldn't even have to be 3D in order to work correctly. You can design your game so the Revolution controller acts as a "laser pointer" of sorts, so you could control an on screen cursor. The underside of the controller has two triggers, so you could use those like the left and right mouse buttons. The "nunchaku" attachment (the thing with an analog stick and two triggers) wouldn't even be needed, you could play the game one-handed.
    • You're right. In fact, the stylus might even be faster and more precise than the mouse, since you can just jab the pointer directly on the unit to select it, etc., as opposed to *dragging* the mouse over to the unit.
  • Let's go back to the beginning. Let's look at these strategy games, as if they were new. How would we approach it now? Let's pretend that there never was a mouse, and all we had were consoles. How would we bring this about?

    Like Herzog Zwei [], maybe? Oh, for the times when game journalists had a memory that went back before the current generation of consoles...

    • I'll second that. Herzog Zwei was the first thing that popped into my mind when reading the summary. Someone else has already mentioned StarCraft 64 as well.

      It's a pretty sad state when the current game houses have so little historical perspective on their own industry that they have to keep reinventing things -- and then, even better, call it 'innovation.'

      • I remember playing Dune II, widely considered the first true RTS, on my Sega Genesis. The control would have been better with a mouse, but it worked.
        • First paragraph:

          Louis Castle is the Vice President of Creative Development at EA Los Angeles, where he provides creative input on a number of popular franchises, including Medal of Honor, GoldenEye: Rogue Agent, Lord of the Rings, and Command & Conquer, the series he helped create over a decade ago at Las Vegas-based Westwood Studios, which he co-founded in 1985.
        • I thought of both Dune 2 and StarCraft 64, but it seemed to me that the author was referring to games specifically made for the console, and Herzog Zwei is the only one that fits that bill. Dune 2 was excellently ported, though, and there was another fine port of an RTS on the Genesis; Tyrants, better known as Mega lo Mania [] on the PC.

    • Although originally an Amiga game, the SNES release of Canon Fodder worked really well, and was bloody good fun. Of course, it did have the option of a mouse for input, which didn't hurt at all. SNES mouse, wooo!
    • Like Herzog Zwei, maybe?

      Was there ever a sequel to that?

    • Don't forget Goblin Commander []. While you're correct in bringing up Herzog Zwei, Goblin Commander is the only RTS I can think of that was built specifically for current-gen systems, thus using a controller much closer to the 360's than the Genesis controller of Herzog Zwei. I'm thinking GC would give a closer idea of what to expect from this.
  • "No mouse, keyboard or desk"...

    That's like saying lets pretend the user is mentally challenged and only has one arm.

    Designers: Ready... Set... Go!

  • I don't quite understand how a mouse existing or not existing effects the design of a console RTS, unless you're considering implementing PnP mouse for the 360 in the coding? You're designing it for a controller, so exactly how would a mouse factor into any of this? Same with the genre of RTS in general. If you're imagining the genre never existed, then you're essentially just *recreating* the genre in ignorance? I love how they say "What made Lord of the Rings a great series of films was just as much abou
  • Battlezone (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ultranova ( 717540 ) on Sunday January 15, 2006 @04:41AM (#14474815)

    There is no need to imagine, since someone else already did. Go look up the old PC game "BattleZone" and its sequel. Especially the sequel shows how its done: the commander doesn't say "attack enemy base", he says "follow me" and charges the base himself.

    Of course a more cowardly/wise commander may sneak near the base and mark targets for ballistic bombard, or simply order his troops around from the command bunker. But a real man will lead the charge himself ;).

    And the whole thing doesn't need mouse for anything but aiming. A hierarchical menu behind the function keys is used to command units. Newer consoles have easily enough buttons for this to work.

The unfacts, did we have them, are too imprecisely few to warrant our certitude.