Just dropping this here, since I heard Crate is making a new RTS title.
GiantGrantGames makes a good point on why recent RTS suck compared to other decades-old RTS. Basically, most developers tend to alienate a big part of the players in the pursuit of multiplayer balance focus while neglecting the most basic part such as unit pathfinding, working AI, the uniqueness and traits that make each faction different while also fun to use, and the ability for users to make content through editors which has shown to result in prolonging a game life.
i’m sure crate’s rts would be single player oriented like grim dawn. though i agree that user friendly editor for rts games is a must these days. just look at how people really love warcraft 3 classic because of its huge variety of custom maps and well made single player campaigns, not because of its own multiplayer oriented skirmish mode.
We definitely understand most people come to an RTS for the setting, gameplay and campaign, not to pvp. As much as I come from a competitive mp background, I recognize that reality and its why we focused on the single-player experience in GD despite all the “this game will fail without secure mp” noise we go during development from that vocal minority (which I was an annoying part of for the Ensemble devs back during the development of Age of Kings and they shut me down by revealing only around 10% of players ever logged into the online service).
I agree with most of that video - we need tight controls and responsiveness, cool units and flashy fx, etc… but kind of laughed at the idea that user generated content is “a must have for a successful RTS”. I think it shows the bias of the survey - just like the hardcore pvp audience screaming for secure pvp / e-sports, the very fact that these people belong to an online RTS community and took this survey means they’re also not your typical casual player. There’s a class of hardcore player that is oriented toward skill and competition but also a brand of hardcore that is just based on the amount of time and effort a person is willing to invest in a game regardless of how skilled they might be at it (grognards? lol). I am skeptical that the truly casual player is downloading much, if any user generated content.
The sad reality for us devs is probably something like 50% of the audience or maybe even more, will buy the game, just based on thinking it looks like the type of thing they will enjoy, play halfway through the campaign or less and then, even if they enjoyed the game, they’ll get busy with life, distracted by the next shiny thing, etc, put the game down and forget to come back.
So its pretty hard to imagine user generated content is the holy grail of RTS success. I do certainly think it can help with longevity and boost sales to some degree. You have to figure though, players have typically already bought the game and played through a bunch of the campaign before they ever think to check out any user generated content - of which there also won’t be any created yet until weeks or months after release.
that’s true… though i also want to add that these days, there are TOO MANY games out there. from all kinds of niche and genre, AAA and indie tiers… many people like me would just like to jump around various games like confused tourists, trying to find the right games to stick around for many months or something. while also having lack of awareness/too busy for checking back updates/dlcs/user contents of the games they’ve played recently… and weirdly enough, even bad games can get a lot of long staying players due to their certain charm (subjective of course to many people).
my suggestion is to make any good indie tier game stay afloat for a long time in new player’s mind is to engage frequently with the community, bring new updates/contents occasionally over several weeks, make special events (small/big) from time to time, and have sustainable ads marketing or something like that for the long haul.
one couldn’t hell but wonder whether the problem is that there are too many games/game developers, or there are too few players…