Category: Blogging

The RTS Pantheon

The RTS Pantheon

I’m not differentiating, though there are small differences between the two, as the main focus is the same: you don’t directly control your players on the pitch, instead using a cursor to navigate a map at the bottom of the screen and issue orders. Run here, shoot now, kick his legs off, that kind of thing. Not only is it a surprising take on a footballing game, it’s one that actually works as an idea and, oddly, makes sense now I’ve played it. What it isn’t, though, is actually much fun. Playing with a controller is hellish, the computer always knows what to do and what’s going on, and my old man brain just can’t keep pace. I have let you down, Zico, and for that I can only apologise. Just because it’s in real time, doesn’t mean it’s fast-paced or remotely interesting to watch. Trust me, both Populi games on the consoles are fun, even if they’re… slow. Very slow. Oh so slow. But they’re solid, early entries into the god game genre which in many ways spun off into the main RTS pantheon. Wait, should say pantheon and relate it to gods, that’d be a clever way of spinning it.

Note to self: don’t forget to edit the script to include that zing..oh. So Populous and its sequel made their way to the SNES and Mega Drive, bringing with them two entirely new worlds from before the horror of Peter Molyneux’s lofty promises. While each veers far more in the direction of strategy than any of the other elements we’ve come to associate with the RTS genre, there is still some brawling to be had and conquest to be enjoyed. It’s just a bit… hands-off, let’s say. More focused on divine intervention than direct orders, and more about not really remembering how to play the game than making something captivating for the viewing audience. Sorry. Wouldn’t you know it, it’s another Bullfrog god game – this one a spin-off of Populous and pretty much the same kind of thing, just without divine intervention.

Power Monger, in context, ended up being more like the modern RTSes that came to define the genre – it’s a military conquest, there’s sacking of towns and villages, building up your forces and generally being a militaristic git while slaughtering sheep. All pretty recognisable stuff. The console ports were a bit of a surprise back in the day, as Power Monger operated with a three dimensional engine and so was seen as a bit of a push for the SNES and Mega Drive hardware. Neither does a particularly admirable job, I have to say, and as you can see from the SNES footage on show here it ran… well, I mean, it ran. That’s about all you can say for it. A good game backing it up, even if it’s another case of the mechanics behind it being lost in the ether good god I’m so old, but not a console legend. Just a console… thing… that was there.

Art Of Battles in RTS

Art Of Battles in RTS

Battles were an automated turn-based affair with a bit of input from the player, but the main attraction – navigating and conquering… sorry, ‘liberating’ a world map took place in pretty standard RTS fashion. Deploying units, upgrading and strengthening them, planning their routes, telling your wizard-and-dog group to go hide in the mountains, forgetting about that one unit right at the top of the map then remembering as they get assaulted six times in a row – that kind of thing, you know? Ogre Battle was a unique title on the SNES, and it still stands in a lonely part of the… genre… field… I don’t know what I’m saying.

Ogre Battle 64 went back to the RTS style, and there was a Neo Geo Pocket Colour spin-off in the genre, too. But what else is there on console that really makes you think ‘this is like that game what is called Ogre Battle’? Not much, or anything, and please do feel free to correct me in the comments as I’m sure you’re already itching to. I’m happy thinking of this as an actual unique RTS on SNES. So there. It seems like an obvious one when you think about it: a relatively hands-off method of controlling a strategy game, some nice green landscapes, and giant mechs. That’s just the kind of thing you expect on SNES, and it’s exactly what was provided with Metal Marines. It almost functions in a turn-based fashion, but believe me it doesn’t feel that way when you’re playing under constant fear of another missile attack coming in from the enemy. No, this is base-building, tech upgrading, defence-and-attack minded real-time strategy of the most fun kind, just without direct control of your attacking units.

Metal Marines was an odd one in that it was made for both SNES and PC at the same time – not typically something you’d see for any game in the early 90s, never mind a unique spin on the then-still-forming RTS. As far as I’m aware the differences weren’t all that pronounced between console and computer, either – though that did change when the PC got a specced-up version a couple of years later. Regardless, it’s safe to say Metal Marines was and is a solid, imaginative and creative RTS that’s worth a pop today, and is the kind of thing I recommend to you, my beloved viewer, even if I did have to turn cheats on at one point just so I could record some footage uninterrupted by enemy attacks. Initially I put both of these – they’re pretty much the same game – in THE ONES THAT AREN’T section, but on actually playing them, and thinking about it, and playing them a bit more, then thinking, then having a lie down because thinking hurts, chowing down on a classic sandwich, then thinking one last time thus risking a braineurysm, I decided I think they actually are RTSes, with a definite whiff of tower defence about them.

What Makes A Good RTS?

What Makes A Good RTS?

The argument would be wrong. No, this is more Gauntlet than Command and Conquer, as well as an irritating game full of stupid collision detection. So Gain Ground does not get to feature as one of the actual RTSes in this list, and yet I get to have my cake and eat it too as I feature it in the ‘not an RTS’ section of the video. Huzzah! Why waste time going over each of these individually, when instead I can just bundle them together and point out none of them are real-time strategy games? Why. In. Deed. Lemmings is a classic, brilliant, and lovely puzzle game that had its music mangled on the Mega Drive; Cannon Fodder is closer to an arcade shooter with elements of strategy which until making this video I had never played on console and oh crikey it works well; and Syndicate is an absolute laughing stock on SNES and Oncasinogames Canada. Even if it’s quite close to being an RTS, I’m just going to summarily write it off because I’m still bitter about how it changed for those two consoles. They’re all tactics or puzzle games, basically, and not what I’d class as an RTS. My video, my rules.

It’s Sim City in space, sure, but Utopia adds one element that takes it from straight-up city-builder to something I think it’s fair to class as an RTS: combat. While more about defending from incoming alien assaults than tank-rushing an underprepared opponent, Utopia does still fit the bill in my once-again scientifically accurate studies. And, while I’d say it’s largely forgotten in mainstream discussions – yeah, you only get mentions of it from edgy cool dudes like me – Utopia was an early example of the RTS genre turning into its own thing, and, yep, is still a bunch of fun. One thing that made Utopia stand out on SNES was how it actually incorporated the system’s mouse peripheral – you know, that thing people only ever used for Mario Paint and no other thing ever. Did it work? Well, in my official opinion I have zero idea, because I don’t have a SNES Mouse so didn’t get to try it out.

Let’s go with: yeah, sure, why not. As a port, Utopia was actually pretty good – it runs at a pace it’s difficult to register as actually showing any, and the pad controls take some learning, and oh dear crikey the music is irritating after five minutes, but I could see this stealing away hours from those snooty SNES owners back in the day. I do wonder if it would have ever been possible on the Mega Drive, but I don’t see Jaleco running back to hammer out a Sega version just to sate my curiosity. The meanies. I think the Ogre Battle series is probably more famous these days for Tactics Ogre, the second game released – and yes, that’s a turn-based tactics game. A brilliant one, and one I would likely marry would it have me. But the first game in the series on SNES was actually a real-time strategy game, at least in the most part.

A Huge Difference

1 million combinations that is the ultimate high variance slot it has a variance factor of 1 point 0 0 or 100% in other words there is no middle ground you get 0 or all the RTP one spin so we want to make that a 96% RTP slot like most of the master what do we do we make those six sevens payout nine hundred and sixty thousand pounds for your one pound stake and obviously that’ll be too brutal to play well that’s an example of how it works now let’s make the same slot but the ultimate low variance game at 96% we take all the zeros off the reels and replace with seven. Read more about slots strategies at CasinoSlots.

So every single spin you get six evans though obviously based on a million permutations every spin would pay ninety six pence be the ultimate boring slot almost like starburst every spin you get ninety six feet back for your one pound state because you’ve got a million a million times more winning combinations now let’s say we made that ninety two percent and it was a simple slot with no features no random in play features no bonus rounds account it’s just pays on the reals like a normal three real basic slot does RTP is that important because let’s say you had the ultimate zero variance game that paid out that ninety six pence every spin okay with a 96% RTP for your hundred quid deposit okay getting ninety six pounds back every spin you would get about two thousand five hundred four hundred spins on it okay before you bust losing for peer spin that’s obviously you get ninety six quid back after the first hundred spins and about 91 pounds something back after the second hundred spins and so on so it’d take you about two thousand five hundred spins to bust something like that I did work it out I haven’t got the exact figures so RTP at 96% let’s say we have that exact same zero variance slot but at 92% so we’ve reduced the RTP from twenty-four twenty-fifths 96% to twenty three twenty fifths ninety two percent in other words ninety six down to ninety two percent because we’re juicing it by one twenty four ninety six down to 92 you get ninety two pence every spin doing the same as we’ve just done starting off at 100 quid.

You would get about thirteen to fourteen hundred spins on it yes there’s a huge difference you come down over a thousand spins your balance would last for just four four percent reduction so you’re – you’re two thousand four and a lot of spins is now reduced about thirteen it’s gone down by 40% so exponentially reducing the RTP from 96 to 92 which is 4% has had a 40% ten times more exponentially effects on your game roll over your turnover and your longevity of your balance so yes it can make a huge difference so even a small RTP difference to make a huge difference to your gameplay.