Crate's Grim Dawn Related RTS Project

I got AoE II DE for my kids and I tried it out but its hard to go back, it just feels so slow and clunky. It’s funny though, I forget everything and had no idea what I was doing in it.


Competetive AoE2 plays at x1.5 speed so it’s a bit faster.
And yes, no cav meta. :smiley:

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I’ve noticed a lot of noise (mine included) about what the new Crate RTS should be inspired by, and not nearly enough speculation about the universe of the game and its fluff. I don’t expect any major reveals from the Dev’s other than “Its a thing”, but that is plenty to run with in my opinion.

An RTS in the Grim Dawn universe would be bonkers, and I think its fair to say speculation down that path makes a fair amount of sense. We already have two major factions (Cthonians and Aetherials) who have been duking it out since time immemorial according to the in-game lore. Then you have the Black Legion (or a general “Remnants of the Erulan Empire” group), the three Covens, Order of Death’s Vigil/Kymon’s Chosen, and the Beast Hordes (Dranghouls and Grobles). There may be others factions that are “big enough” but that is what comes to my mind readily (last minute edit: Old Arkovia would fit the bill)

  • Aetherials could be focused on map corruption via terraformers, and they capture other factions units (wololo) to build their abominations.
  • Cthonians are all about that blood sacrifice and opening portals, so their playstyle could be built around sacrificing dink units to bring in 50 Ezzet’kuls or something similar.
  • Black Legion / Erulan could be your standard faff with guns and cannons and the odd bit of magic.
  • The Coven could be based on pledging fealty to a specific god and being granted boons in accordance. Bysmiel could be about magic beasts, Dreeg could be about DoT on everything, Solael could be about Battle BDSM.
  • The Order/Kymon’s may be better suited as a choice the Erulan faction makes, similar to in the game. You get to pick one or the other at some point in your tech tree and gain access to their units and abilities for the duration of the match.
  • Personally I want to play the Dranghoul and Groble hordes. Naturally, they’d have to be about FIGHTIN’, GUNZ, and MOR FIGHTIN’. Built around a tsunami of 1 HP mobs.

Finding the balance between slow and long play is key. I have always been of the persuasion that if you want a shorter game you should just play on a smaller map. From the sound of it, there is a lot of push for hot seat, 20 minute matches. When you shorten the playtime you stand to lose all of the immersion that you (the developers) have baked into the game world, and it just devolves into an endless quest to find exploitative tactics and have the fastest internet connection.

Of course I say things like that because I am the ultimate casual, and who am I kidding I will give you my money regardless of what the RTS ends up being like. I will happily wallow in my nooblord SP 48 hour marathon matches while the cool kids all play their 3 minute MP matches. Everyone wins.

tl;dr: Grim Dawn - RTS edition.


Well, since you’ve given no indication that you are actually aware of this I suppose I’ll be the one to break it to ya… We’ve known for a long time (maybe a few years now?) that it is not going to be set in the GD 'verse.


…or wait, am I just confusing the city builder with a separate RTS project? They’re all the same to me :smirk:

Guess I just might be - anyway, pretty sure the only one that is related at all to GD is whatever Zantai is cooking up, read directly below. :ghost:

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After much back and forth, we’ve decided to set the RTS in Cairn. It’s pre-grim-dawn though, so no aetherials, although there may be some cthonic elements.

We wanted to give it more of an historical civilization feel but with fantasy elements, since I think straight history is kind of limiting in terms of what you can come up with for interesting units and abilities.

So in terms of setting it will be a bit more Age of Empires but with some magic and fantasy units, alongside more traditional army units. In terms of gameplay feel, it will be a bit more toward SC2.


Looks like Cairn is back on the menu, boys! Bust out your Scorvs :scorv:


Prays to the Three for Obsidian Defiler units in Chthon faction


The goal is not for every game to be under 20m - it’s more that a game shouldn’t automatically last 20m regardless of how mismatched players are or how bad of a match someone has. I’ve had plenty of SC2 matches that have lasted 30-45m but that happened because it was an intense match against very evenly skilled opponents. In SC2, there are sort of checks at various stages, where you can win or lose depending on skill level vs. your opponent and the build / strategy you’ve chosen. Often there is some sort of early harass or rush, it may be the end of the game if one side is unprepared or executes poorly… but if its held off, things progress to the mid-game tech / units, where again there may be engagements, which could be decisive but, if not, the game then advances on to the end-game tech / units. Some of the best pro matches I’ve seen have lasted over an hour.

What I don’t like in AoE games is that it often takes 10-15m just to build up to the point where you can do anything that could potentially win you the game. It gets boring playing those first 10 minutes over and over, with little variation, because there is almost no player interaction. In AoE it is also much easier for people to drag the game out hiding around the map and refusing to quit even though they have no hope of winning.

So the idea really is that the game-time shouldn’t be artificially inflated by things like a prolonged build-up where you’re not even really interacting with your opponent. I certainly am not trying to make it so games only last 20m or less. I mean if people are having an intense and interesting match, where stuff is constantly happening, I don’t think they’ll care that it passes 20m.

For the ultra casual, I think mostly they’ll be playing the campaign, where the length of pvp matches is kind of irrelevant. We can pace out the campaign however we want.


Hm, so does this mean we have two GD related games? The standalone one Zan’s working on and the RTS? Or are they one and the same?

The stand-alone thing Zantai was working on, was sort of an experiment that didn’t really pan out. We went into it thinking we could leverage GD tech and art to create a new gameplay mode, that probably wouldn’t have great sales potential but would be worthwhile since it wouldn’t cost too much to make. In the end though, we ran into challenges that would have required more investment to overcome and we felt like the end result might be a more expensive project than we anticipated, that might end up looking like it was just a mod. So we decided to cut our losses and focus on other things.

Ah, that’s a bit sad Medierra, but guess you have to try these things to see what’s possible. Won’t know unless you experiment a bit now and then.

As a generally frowned upon RTS turtle base fan, would should I expect from the citizens of Cairn pre GD? I’m not impressed with how their cities held out afterwards, so I fear you may not support my particular(ly) dumb play style.

Something about loading up a few bots and making a super base to slowly shred them I always found more enjoyable than rapid expanse, for serious play


We have our own resident fans of turtling and recognize it is a mode of play enjoyed by many filthy casuals, so we plan to support it.

Even in SC2, terran is quite effective at obnoxious levels of turtling in mp. Beyond a certain point, it just delays defeat, as you eventually can run out of resources while allowing your opponent to control the map… but it can sometimes be employed to try to jump to higher tech.

In play vs. bots, it is even more possible to facilitate this kind of play, since, even if we tried, we can probably never make bots as effective as a human at figuring out how to pick apart a well planned player defense and we probably won’t try. As much as I pvp, I also enjoy trying to hold out against waves of overwhelming AI forces.

In terms of fiction, you have to remember, the Aetherials used a stealth cheese strat to infiltrate the Erulan empire and sabotage it’s defenses from the inside. Erulan will likely have the best turtling ability out of the three planned civs.


Wow, keep the info flowing big M. But also more on the town builder please too. :smiley: Like a release date. :wink:

So I’m assuming

You - leading FF
Zan - leading the RTS now his standalone project’s died
Grava or Hyboreal - leading the horror survival

FF is wrapping up, so there isn’t a huge amount of design work left. Although, wrapping up a project entails filling in all the bits necessary for player accessibility, like tool-tips, UI, etc, along with optimization and other feature refinement and polish; so there is still a ways to go before release. Wrapping up a game always takes way longer than you expect, even when you expect it to take way longer than you expect…

I’ve been working on the RTS on the side for a while and will continue, on a high-level, to define the civs / units, core gameplay, setting. Zantai has been helping to further define things and fill in details of the design, like unit ability system. He’s going to be heading up the campaign and is outlining how that will work and what sort of scripting and editor functionality we’ll need to build it.


Very nice! And what about the horror survival game? Can you tell us a little bit more about that?

Only that, yes, grava and hyboreal are on it


FF is wrapping up? but that means maska’s saga on discord might also be wrapping up! The horror!

Well, that’s better than nothing I suppose. :wink:

Anyway, shoo! Way past your bedtime. Don’t need you worn out and tired otherwise FF will never release. Go to :bed: !

And the survival horror game’s name is… Trip South.