First of all, we’d like to thank the amazing yuricannes for working with us to create the featured image for this episode. I think you’ll agree that it’s an amazing piece of art, and you should definitely check out their work.
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There were a few swears in this episode, but we’ve bleeped them all out. Nothing too explicit, but we thought that we’d tread on the safe side. But there is an instance of “crap” at 3 minutes and 57 seconds.
As always, please listen responsibly.
Breaking news interrupted our podcast, and we were duty bound
as journalists - after a fashion
to pass the report on to you all.
We start where the previous episode left off, with Squidge asking whether The Sims games are Real Time Strategy games
I see it as, if there’s heavy amount of a Strategy involved, and if there’s a Time constraint
Chief then reminds us that there are only four people who play Real Time Strategy games these days
it actually feels like that at times
and that they are all quite elitist. And Squidge reminds us that, no matter how much we all want one, there’s no pause mode in real life.
Before we can move on from the Golden Age of RTS games, I remind everyone of the pepperoni pizza cheat for the original Age of Empires
typing that into the chat gave you 1000 resource for wood, food, stone, and gold
and Squidge tells us about when he used to work at a school where they had a Lan-able version of Age of Mythology, and the IT teacher was that good he could beat all of the students in the same game. He then goes on to tell us a little about the story mode of AoM
I use this joke for the Call of Duty and Halo games, but:
there's a story mode?!
I then talk about my kill corridor on Age of Empires 2: a single path through a forest, which I fortified with turrets and guard towers. These would wipe out any opposing forces way before they could reach my base. Whereas Squidge takes the opposite approach: he likes to create a “swarm of bees”
read: a rather large army
and set them loose on his opponents.
We then cover the amazing Dungeon Defenders. If you haven’t played this game and like RTS style Tower Defence games, I’d recommend that you give it a try. Which leads on to a discussion about whether the four people who still play RTS games have formed a council or a guild of some kind
results are inconclusive
Once we’re out of the “Westwood Phase” (or the Golden Era), Chief talks to us about Total Annihilation. This is a game that I could play for days and not get bored of. As the meme-sters might say: ‘dat infinite resource, yo.
not going to lie, typing that out felt a little weird
Chief then uses TA as an excuse to bring up the difference between RTS (Real Time Strategy) and RTT (Real Time Tactics):
I know it’s just semantics, but really when we’re describing Real Time Strategy, what we’re really describing is Real Time Tactics. It’s a military distinction, but your strategic is your “big picture”, and your tactical is your “on the ground”
He then talks us through the differences between TA and the CnC games. Which leads us nicely to the spiritual successor for TA: Supreme Commander. SC was more realistic, in terms of the military stuff: things like radar and realistic ranges for the weapons. All of which made it feel more realistic than CnC or TA.
And of course we end up talking about Total War series
Shogun, Rome, Medieval, Warhammer, etc.
Alpha Centuri, Civilization
I could swear that Civilization had an 's' in it
and the grand strategy title: Europa Universalis
"grand strategy" because you don't fight the battles
And Chief doesn’t let a conversation involving Medieval Total War 2 go by without taking a dig at Steam. Which reminds me that we should get him to enter his “score” onto the steam leaderboard - even though Medieval 2 was the high point in the series. Why was it the high point in the series? Because The Creative Assembly started stripping out features by “simplifying” the same. Chief reckons that they oversimplified the game. I’ll let you be the judge
if you have played the Total War games, leave us a comment and let us know what you think
though he’ll happily concede that the graphical quality has improved in the newer games, and that they added a lot of the political stuff back in… eventually
The substance of it… once you dig into it, it’s a bit pants
Squidge then talks to us about strategy games like Commandos, and Chief agrees that those particular games aren’t RTS games. Both he and I agree that games in that vein are more RTT games.
We circle back towards Grand Strategy and I ask whether Factorio is classed as grand strategy, much to the chagrin of Squidge
he's not a fan
But the topic of whether Factorio is an RTS game causes a little controversy amongst the group, as Squidge interjects. but we all agree that Factorio is more of a logistical game than anything else, but can become an RTS if you spend your time gearing up for war. And then the elephant in the room comes up: “Factorio is programming”.
Personal opinion of a developer: Whilst Factorio can be used as a tool to help folks to learn programming, it’s more of a visual programming paradigm. I honestly think that Human Resource Machine is better at teaching the basics of programming. Factorio is better at teaching automation, than programming.
I then break into a quick description on how you could use Factorio and Human Resource Machine to learn the precepts of computer programming - without getting bogged down on the whole “which language should I choose?” debate.
We then go off planet with Homeworld, which is an incredibly, yet still fun, serious space based RTS, and it’s sequel- Deserts of Kharak - was essentially a Dune clone. One of the things that Chief really liked about Homeworld was the combat chatter, which really helped with the immersion of the game. Which is something that I really think helped to set the Uncharted series of games apart - although, in that instance it was in the form of banter between Nathan Drake and… well, everyone else.
The biggest problem with these RTS games, especially the games from the Golden Age, is that they are quite old. This means that they are sometimes quite difficult to get up and running on modern operating systems. But companies like GOG (Good Old Games) are trying to turn the tide on this. Also projects like OpenRA and OpenAge are trying to breathe new life into the older games by re-implementing the game engines as open source
and more importantly: free to play - if you have the resource files
game engines for modern operating systems.
Chief then accidentally teases an upcoming blog post by Squidge
which may or may not be all about cameos in video games
when he brings up the point that the Command & Conquer: Red Alert series have some amazing cameos.