Developing an RTS game is not only the code and art. Game design is a big thing too. I’m subscribed to a lot of newsfeeds from many game related sites and blogs. RTS games are quite rare today. Reading I have stumbled upon a new interesting term, which inspired me to write an article.
The term in question is – “Strange Attractor” (SA for short). Quoting Terry Rossio (blog), he describes the SA as follows:
Put ‘strange’ (meaning ‘unique’) and ‘attractor’ (from ‘attractive’, meaning ‘compelling’) together and you get ‘strange attractor’, or ‘something unique that is also compelling’.
There must be some aspect that is compelling, enticing, and intriguing.
You could call it a hook, or a gimmick, or a twist. Hollywood sometimes calls it a ‘high concept’ — an idea for a movie that can be stated in one or two sentences.
In other words, SA concept says that many interesting movies are born from two parents – Strange and Attractive. We take something familiar and attractive to us and add something strange and unique. The form could be simplified down to one sentence actually – “The game like A, but with B”.
Classic examples would be:
- The game like Dune II, but with orcs vs. humans – Warcraft.
- The game like Warcraft II but in space – Starcraft.
- The game like GTA but about mafia – Mafia.
- The game like SimCity but made the way it is meant to be – Cities: Skylines.
- The game like Diablo but based on ancient history – Titans Quest.
- The game like Warcraft III but with a single map – DOTA.
- The game like Wolfenstein 3D but against demons on Mars – Doom.
There are more examples from around Settlers-like games too. I use the term Settlers-like to describe an RTS game mainly focused on town-building with variety of resources and production chains (those are often called German-school RTS). Let’s list some:
The Settlers-like game:
- .. but about pirates – Tropico
- .. but with trading – Anno
- .. but about defending a castle – Stronghold
- .. but suited for offline play – Settlers Online
- .. but with proper army control – Knights and Merchants
Now here’s a thought – what can SA bring to KP? One can argue 3D is enough of a change, but today 3D is “Attractive”, not “Strange”. Here are my thought on the matter. The game like classic German-school RTS:
- .. but against undead. There could be a new undead race competing with humans. As big as like orcs in Warcraft.
- .. but fast-paced. How about cutting the typical match from 75 min down to 30?
- .. but turn-based. Crazy thought.
- .. but MMO. Not our scale sadly.
- .. but up to modern GUI standards. Meaning 3D and user interface interaction.
- .. but casual. No roads, no deliveries, just production and army. I don’t like this idea.
- .. but filled with gore and evil. Something alike Diablo 1 atmosphere. Meh..
- .. but with ..