Friday, April 10, 2009

Will Starcraft 2 be a RTS and FPS combination? I don't think so.

I don't think Starcraft 2 will be a RTS & FPS combination, but that doesn't matter until after I get this bit out of my system about Starcraft. The real issue is; is it doing anything at all?

In the past, Blizzard has been known to spend a lot of time perfecting a game, creating a lot of hype about it, only to suspend it. - Ghost. - Nuff said there.

Now they're sharpening Starcraft 2 so much that competitors will have all the time in the world to get a better "edge." And in the process of "sharpening," their game may end up being be so structurally sound that once it cuts, there's no going back - no balancing patch may fix it without totally changing major game elements.

Blizzard did an April 1st Fools joke for Starcraft recently, so I assume it's still very much in their hearts and at their designers finger tips (yes, that includes you programmers!). Is the game going to be much different? Probably not; without intoducing something drastically different poetntially debasing part of the current fanbase, they probably can't do it, unless they were real careful about it, making it optionally different: Like this version of an RTS / Combination I came up with:

In my opinion, the best way Starcraft 2 could have ever had a major game change was something I suggested years ago, by combinding RTS and FPS elements into the game. This would make multiplayer SO much more interesting. They could even put Ghost to use.

I could elaborate on an RTS and FPS combination greatly. Bringing RTS and FPS gamers together? Of course, you would need good AI controls for both the FPS and RTS for 1vs2, considering Starcraft 2 is traditionally a RTS though, the most powerful position should remain the RTS player. That shouldn't leave you to underestimate the role the FPS user can have though. Being able to make multiple quick head shots, pick off enemy special units, perhaps plant bombs on enemy vehicles? - The ways the FPS player could contribute are endless and can turn the tide of a battle or game. However, they can not win the game alone, considering the large scale of units can not be managed simutanteously for a long enough time.

If only a single player were playing, there should be an AI bot that can be turned on or off and taken control of by the user at any moment.

If an FPS player loses a unit, which may happen quickly for a single unit in the world of Starcraft games, he will go into a top down view, like the RTS players standpoint, only he will not be able to command any units from the top-down, he'll have to "become" one of the units, be going into him first person. I suppose you could could say "possess" the unit, hehe.

To keep it from being frustrating or boring to either player a second game mode where the players can "phase" in and out of roles in the game can be offered, the RTS player can possess a single unit for FPS view too, but for only 15 seconds, once that 15 seconds is up, the FPS player can (by pressing CTRL+SHIFT+CLICK (or other assignable arrangement) permanently become the RTS player. The RTS player also may become the FPS player permanantly, if the FPS player remains a RTS player for too long (not counting the "top down possesor view to choose a unit after death in transition between), they are automatically phased back to their primary role, FPS or RTS. Those timings can be tweeked in game settings with familiar names to be viewed in the available server list, like "Fast Phasing, Unlimited Phase," etc. A slider bar can also be used, but that would denote "custom."

The normal method should allow no phasing between roles once set in a given game, unless of course a player leaves, then someone else may gain that role in combination with their natural role, having unlimited phases. - This way both the opposing and defending team can have the same number of available roles, even if the number of players is unven.

I imagine 1 on 1's would most popularly be Unlimited Phasing, while more multilpayer matches would most popularly be No Phasing, or Strict RTS (old school) No Phasing (No FPS spots).

An advanced setting could be strict RTS (old school), or strict FPS in which there can be adjustable15 second phase to RTS settings, no phase settings, or no RTS going on during the same time at all.

Unless it's a "closed" setting game, if a player leaves, another player should be able to join at any time frame during the game. The player who was in the game first though should have the option set with a hotkey to transmit to the server list whether he is looking for an RTS or FPS spot to be filled, so only a player who actually wants to play in that position can be played.

This feature can be applied to many styles of multiplayer games: If a teammate is completely idle for more than 30 seconds, a partner may gain control, but gain the ability to give control back.

I get excited with the thought of combining my two favorite game types seamlessly. If you would like more elaboration on any aspect of this combination, feel free to contact me. I'm sure this is a little bit confusing, since I'm hapily helping tend to a two year old whiile writing this.

I hope Starcraft 2 doesn't go down the gutter with them waiting too long. I'll be happy if it's remains an RTS only as long as the competition, balance, and controls are good. I hope the technology of the game doesn't get outdated before it's released... IMO, that's what happened with Starcraft Ghost - They spent too much attention on one kid; e.g. World of Warcraft - All the while giving the other babies (Ghost, Diablo 2, Starcraft 2) the little bit of milk and backwash left in the bottle. Maybe that's not what's happening here though, maybe.


Ruchi said...

Great Podcast! I most certainly wouldn't give up :)

Travis said...

Nice post. RTS game like Starcraft has evolved with requirement of micro skills in a strategic war. Starcraft II is even faster and advance player might actually like like controlling multiple FPS player simultaneously.

A side note, I am preparing to launch a prototyping website that you might be interested in, so I thought I'd share it and perhaps get some of your feedback on: - It is a Q&A website with aim to provide quality and fast response.

Please don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions about it. I'd be happy to assign you as moderator if you able to stick around.